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Phone Scam Warning

April 20, 2009, 5:57 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Phone Scam Warning
Police have a serious warning about an apparent phone scam targeting people in KELOLAND. The calls are mostly coming in to cell phones but come from various area codes.  Whoever is behind the calls appears to be after your banking information.

Caller ID is supposed to give you an idea of who is on the other end of the phone. But police believe the numbers showing up with these fishy phone calls are hijacked, meaning they're not really coming from that line.

The calls are so common, several people in our newsroom got it over the weekend and we've received several e-mails from viewers.  Police are warning everyone to not give away your important information.

It's not unusual for Hilary Mason to take a call on her cell phone. But when an odd number showed up, she took notice. The recorded message asked her to dial one because her debit card had an issue. When she did that, the recorded voice asked her for more numbers.

“And they asked me then for my 16 digit debit card number, which I obviously was not going to give them," Mason said.

That's when Mason ended the call, a smart move according to Sioux Falls police.

"Do not give absolutely any information to these types of calls. Do not do anything that the calls are requesting you do do. Your banks out there, your insurance companies are not going to send a recorded phone call to you," Sioux Falls Detective Sean Kooistra said.

Even if they do, they won't ask for your sensitive information.  Detective Sean Kooistra even received the call in question three times, twice Monday morning. He says the best thing to do is hang up immediately. But for Mason, who pressed one, she's left to question whether that puts her phone in jeopardy.

"I didn't enter any numbers, but I'm afraid that they're going to charge my cell phone two or three thousand dollars or they somehow got a hold of my call list and that's how almost everyone I know has gotten a phone call," said Mason.

Investigators aren't sure whether pressing one gives any details to the scammers.

Sioux Falls police have also taken complaints about similar calls that reference car insurance or an expiring warranty. They say the situations are similar and the rule applies to not give out personal information.

However, if you do mistakenly, you're encouraged to file a police report.

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