CHARLESTON — Residents of the Metro Valley should be wary of suspicious phone calls following a spike in call “spoofing,” according to a news release from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
The recent wave of spoofing involves scam artists posing as Putnam or Kanawha county-based businesses, Morrisey said.
Three businesses — 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. The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division believes those receiving the calls were likely the victims of call spoofing, a technique used by impostors to mimic a legitimate phone number to lure consumers to believe the incoming call comes from a recognizable business.
“There is no shortage of bad actors who will prey on trusting consumers,” Morrisey said in the release. “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. Similar scam operations could be afoot elsewhere in the state.
Reports indicate those making the unsolicited calls will use various excuses as they seek to steal the consumers’ personal, identifiable information, such as their Social Security number. Some consumers have reportedly divulged the information and by doing so placed themselves at risk of identity theft.
Morrisey urges consumers to keep these 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.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of identity theft, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.