Don't fall for this con
Some area residents who pick up their phone or check their answering service may receive a high-pressure pitch from con artists using a legal wrinkle to try and steal their money.
The con artists appear to be randomly calling people in the High Point area with an aggressive appeal to contact a nebulous law firm about urgent legal matter.
The automated call warns about a pending court proceeding that requires someone have legal assistance. The robocall indicates that a restraining order has been filed in a case and provides a supposed case number. The pitch concludes by providing a phone number to call to contact a lawyer.
Consumer advocates warn people not to fall for the phone scam legal pitch. The goal is to frighten people into calling back and provide credit card, debit card or banking account numbers that supposedly would be used to pay for legal services, but instead would be used by con artists to steal money or make unauthorized purchases.
The scam can spin off into other variations, said Kevin Hinterberger, president and chief executive officer of the Better Business Bureau of Central North Carolina out of Greensboro.
“Typically it involves the collection of a debt and threat of incarceration if a payment is not made immediately. We’ve also received calls in which people are contacted and told that they’ve missed jury duty and need to pay a fine immediately, get arrested and pay higher fines, or both,” Hinterberger told The High Point Enterprise.
A representative in Raleigh with the N.C. Attorney General’s Office said consumer advocates there have begun to receive reports from people about the legal phone call pitch.
“They definitely appear to be a new twist on the fraudulent debt collector calls. We recommend that people not respond,” said Noelle Talley, public information officer for the Attorney General’s Office.
Talley said that if someone isn’t sure if the phone call is legitimate, ask the supposed business to send a notification in writing.
“In our experience, a legitimate debt collector will do that; the phony ones won’t,” she said.
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The Better Business Bureau of Central North Carolina serves as a clearinghouse for consumer information. In addition to providing background checks on local businesses, the BBB can pass along consumer complaints to state and federal monitoring agencies.
The BBB serves Alamance, Caswell, Guilford, Randolph and Rockingham counties and city of Thomasville in Davidson County. (Davidson County outside of Thomasville is served by the BBB of Northwest North Carolina based in Winston-Salem.) For more information, call the BBB of Central North Carolina office in Greensboro at 632-4976 or check Web site www.greensboro.bbb.org.