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Loomis senior lands on ‘sucker list’

By: Kathy Maynard, Loomis News Correspondent
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AVOID FRAUD

  • Put your name on the Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222. Contact www.dmachoice.org to reduce unsolicited mail and email.
  • Never give out personal information. This includes name, address, Social Security number, and credit or debit card or bank account number to a stranger.
  • Never believe you have won something for nothing. Legitimate sweepstakes and lotteries require that you enter.
  • Never send money in advance to pay taxes or other fees to collect any prize. It is illegal in the U.S. for contests or sweepstakes to require payment to enter or claim a prize.
  • Be aware of who you are dealing with. Ask for the caller’s first and last name, the legal business name and a number to call them back and verify them on the internet, or ask a friend or family member to do so, before responding. No legitimate business would hesitate to provide potential customers with information to check them out.
  • Shred all mail or black out your contact information before throwing it away.
  • Hang up on unsolicited calls immediately. The longer you engage them in conversation, even to tell them you know it’s a scam, the more hope you give them that they can convince you to send them money.

SOURCE: Better Business Bureau

 

A Loomis senior has landed on a fraudsters’ “sucker list” after responding to a telemarketing scam.

The good news for Judy Littlefield, 73, is that she was able to cancel her credit card before a telephone scammer could collect any money after she fell for a telephone fraudulent solicitation.

The bad news is that just responding to that call triggered a daily flood of dubious lottery, sweepstakes and work-from-home solicitations in her mailbox.

“They are coming from all over the world – Dallas, Las Vegas, Missouri – some from The Netherlands and some from Australia, wanting me to send them money. It’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said.

It all started last summer when Littlefield, a retired schoolteacher, gave a telephone solicitor her credit card number over the phone.

“Then when I hung up I wondered, “What did I do that for?’ I’d never had anyone do that to me before.  So, I called the bank and cancelled the card right away,” she said.

Soon, she received another phone call from someone offering to send her an Obamacare Medical Card for the whole family. She realized it was a scam when they started asking her for private information like her Social Security and bank account numbers.

“I said ‘No thank you, I’m already covered,’ and hung up. Then I called the newspaper to report it because I thought, my word, they are doing this to other people who probably will give their information, not realizing what they are going to do with it,” Littlefield said.Unfortunately, responding to the first call put Littlefield on a “suckers’ list.” According to the state attorney general’s website, such lists are commonly compiled and bought and sold by fraudsters who know that consumers who have been tricked once are likely to be tricked again. Soon, Littlefield started receiving at least five unsolicited checks, sweepstakes and lottery announcements or get-rich-quick offers by mail daily.

“I sent about a dozen of them Monopoly money, hoping they would understand I wasn’t going to buy it and stop sending them, but it got worse,” Littlefield said.

She would have been better off to completely ignore the solicitations, according to Calin Peterson, a spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Northeast California.

“There’s really not much anyone can do to stop these schemes because most of them are located overseas,” she said. “Responding just makes you appear to be vulnerable to their marketing and the solicitations will increase.”

Peterson said to avoid being scammed or ending up on a sucker list never give out personal information over the phone or send money in advance to pay taxes or other fees to collect any prize.