CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a release on Monday warning consumers about a recent spike in phone calls they may receive from scammers who are posing as local businesses.
The release states that three business, two medical clinics and an automobile repair shop, reportedly received more than 600 calls from consumers questioning why a company representative had called the consumer’s phone asking for personal, identifiable information.
The businesses report their employees did not make the calls in question, according to the release. Instead, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division believes those receiving the calls were most likely victims of call spoofing, a technique used by scammers to mimic a legitimate telephone number to lure consumers into believing the call is coming from a recognizable person, business or organization.
“There is no shortage of bad actors who will prey on trusting consumers,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “I urge everyone to remain vigilant, protect your personal and financial information and be skeptical with unexpected calls. This advice can stop a scam in its tracks.”
The businesses involved are located in Kanawha and Putnam counties, according to the release. Morrisey also warned that similar scam operations could be afoot elsewhere in the state.
The release also stated that reports indicate the people making the unsolicited calls will use various excuses as they seek to steal the consumers’ personal, identifiable information, such as their Social Security Number. According to the release, some consumers have reportedly divulged the information and by doing so, placed themselves at risk for identity theft.
The Attorney General is urging consumers to keep the following tips in mind when receiving an unsolicited phone call:
- Never give the caller any personal information.
- Stay Calm. Don’t feel pressured by threats.
- Hang up the phone and call the company directly to verify the legitimacy of the call.
The Attorney General’s Office is urging anyone who believes they have been a victim of identity theft to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online here.