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Woman Harassed By Scammers

October 19, 2012, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

Woman Harassed By Scammers
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

If you're on the Do Not Call list, telemarketers aren't supposed to be able to harass you.  But that law isn't stopping scammers from repeatedly calling people here in KELOLAND.

In Your Money Matters, we have the latest scam circulating in the area based on something from the Dr. Oz show and the disturbing tactics the callers are taking.

When Dr. Oz says it, millions of people take note.  So when Dr. Oz said certain kinds of green coffee bean extract may assist in weight loss, con-artists jumped on the bandwagon and they're calling people here in KELOLAND.  Patti Hiett was called saying she requested a green coffee bean weight-loss program. 

"Which I kind of laughed at and said, 'No, I don't need to lose weight.' And I hung up on them.  She kind of went into another little spiel and I hung up on them," Hiett said.

That should have ended it, but it didn't.  Hiett got at least a dozen calls from the New Jersey number in one day.  She even filed a police report.

"If I attempted to call back to ask them to stop calling me, sometimes I'd get the same person.  Sometimes I'd get a different person.  Ask them to leave me alone and then they'd call me a couple more times and then I'd call them back to say please stop calling my number," Hiett said. 

"Patti's done all the right things.  She has her number on the Federal Do Not Call Registry.  And so by calling her, they were violating, not just federal law, but state law as well," Jessie Schmidt with the Better Business Bureau said. 

Schmidt says while the number appears to be from the East Coast, the scammers could actually be in boiler room in a foreign country. 

"They're in a workroom somewhere and they're making tens of thousands of calls a day. They have hundreds of people making thousands of calls and they just need a certain percentage of those to buy," Schmidt said.

Schmidt says while there are few resources to stop these criminals, consumers must protect themselves. 

"Put your number on the Do Not Call Registry if you don't want to be solicited. Never give out your personal information over the telephone and really just be vigilant and be cautious of anyone who calls you," Schmidt said.

We checked with South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission and it is also illegal for a solicitor to call you on your cell phone unless it's an emergency or you have given your consent.  If you get harassing calls from telemarketers, you should file a complaint with the PUC.

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