Cell phone scam reported by attorney generalA scam involving calls about possible disruptions to cellular telephone services is making the rounds again in North Dakota, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem warned Thursday.
A scam involving calls about possible disruptions to cellular telephone services is making the rounds again in North Dakota, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem warned Thursday.
In the scam, a phony customer service technician claims that work on cellular telephone towers in the area may disrupt cell phone service for the consumer so the service provider is offering a credit on the bill to make up for any inconvenience. All the consumer has to do is “confirm” the billing address, the account holder’s personal information, and verify the account password, and the caller will give the consumer a confirmation number to be used to claim the credit.
“Scam artists are successful because the stories they use sound reasonable. Most people are aware that improvements are being made to cellular services across the nation, so it seems plausible when the caller apologizes for possible disruptions,” Stenehjem said. “The scam artist uses the apology as the hook and the promise of a credit as the bait.”
With the information provided by the account holder, the scam artists can make changes to the account. Usually, the victim becomes aware of the scam only after the phones on the account stop working. This is because the scam artist has hijacked the phone number and is using the line to make international calls and add international data streaming plans, incurring hundreds of dollars in international usage fees to the victim’s account.
Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection Division, reminds consumers not to respond to callers who ask for account information or passwords to be confirmed, regardless of the reason.
“If the caller is legitimate, they will already have your personal and account information from when you opened the account or started receiving the service. If you are asked to confirm account information, hang up immediately,” said Grossman.
Consumers who have questions about calls asking for personal information to be confirmed should call Consumer Protection, toll-free, at 800-472-2600.
This time, the scam involves calls claiming to be from AT&T. Earlier this year, the scam artists claimed to be from Verizon. Although most of the state is served by AT&T or Verizon, Grossman reminded residents along the state’s borders that the scam artists may pretend to be from one of the other cellular telephone providers serving those areas.