We received a (metric) boat-load of response to the column last week about Bob(e) and his Microsoft phone scam. Apparently Bob(e)'s a busy boy.
And he isn't alone, nor is he even the most active in the Chattahoochee Valley (which I imagine he couldn't find on a map, anyway).
For those who missed it, last week I wrote about a phone scam involving some people of apparent south Asian descent calling people (including the Inquirer Homestead) trying to get people to fall for their spiel and hand over, if not money, then financial information. The guy who called me (more than once) said his name was Bob, but he pronounced it somewhere between Bob and Bobe.
If he was from around here, grits ain't groceries.
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Several people called and wrote me about a similar scam, so I wrote about it.
Now several more people wrote and called me to say thanks for shining a light on the vermin and that it had happened to them, too.
Robbie and Jerry wrote to say they'd received similar calls late last year, and in spite of their insistence that they were not going to be duped, the calls kept coming. They went so far as to report the calls to the Federal Communications Commission. They said they aren't sure if reporting them helped, but eventually the calls stopped.
"Thank you for informing the residents of Columbus, Phenix City and the surrounding ar
eas," they wrote. "It was very scary for us."
Another Concerned Reader wrote:
"My father has Alzheimer's and is now on every scammers list possible. I have the perfect solution that works well for me when scammers call. I simply say, 'Muscogee County 911. What's your emergency?' I don't budge from it, and they get the hint."
(For the record, neither The Inquirer, nor the Ledger-Enquirer, nor the R.W. Page Corp., nor The McClatchy Co. in any way endorses, approves of or in any other way supports private individuals representing themselves in any way as anyone connected to law enforcement.)
That said, Ha!
"I had just finished reading your article about the Microsoft scam when the phone ring at 8 a.m. A man with an accent asked for me and said that he was from Microsoft and was calling about a problem with my computer. I told him I did not own a computer and he hung up the phone!
"I do own a computer and would have responded to him differently if I have not just read your article. Thank you for the information about the scam."
You're welcome, folks. Just doing my job.
You'll recall I said earlier that Bob(e) isn't the only phone scam folks are running these days. Columbus Police Sgt. John Bailey, who heads up the Financial Crimes Unit in the Investigative Services Department, said there are some who claim to be with the Sheriff's Office or other part of the Consolidated Government, and they want to help you part company with your money.
"There's a whole series of scams going around," Bailey said.
In one that has a more local flavor, people are being called and told that they have either missed jury duty or a mandatory court appearance, and that they are in a world of trouble. But if the people want to settle the issue quickly, they can transfer money either through Western Union or Walmart, and their problems will disappear and the police won't show up at their door.
No one involved with local, state or federal government is going to call you and tell you to wire money, Bailey said. So if someone does, it's a scam. Hang up.
"The IRS is not going to call you and tell you you're delinquent on your taxes," Bailey said.
In another, a young lady applied for a job through Craigslist online, was told she got it and that the company would send her a check for $2,500 for supplies, which she deposited in her account. Then just before she went to buy the supplies, the people called back and said there was a mistake in the amount, and asked that she send $2,000 of the money back through a Walmart Moneygram. She did, only to find out that the original check was bogus, so she was out the amount she sent and her account was overdrawn.
"Luckily in this instance, she was able to contact the wire transfer and stop it," Bailey said.
Bailey said people should use common sense and not send money to anyone they do not know, through a wire transfer, or otherwise.
Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8670 or mowen @ledger-enquirer.com.