Scam of the Week: Refund rip-off, Ozark woman loses $1k

An Ozark woman, on a fixed income was told money is on the way, but now she can't pay her bills. She fell for a new phone scam. While embarrassed, she wants talk about it so others don't take the bait.

"That was the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life," said Linda Johnson.

She got a call and was told a $100 refund is on the way. They told her to logon to her bank account so she could verify the deposit. Johnson was instructed to start a transfer of one hundred dollars.

"Then he started screaming at me. 'What did you do? You typed in $1,000, not $100'," she said.

This was a setup scare tactic. Johnson never really made the transfer, but the con said she did. Linda believes she was caught up in the moment and fell into a trap.

"He said 'You need to go now. You need to get dressed now. Fast and hurry before my boss finds out what you did!'" Johnson said.

Using public information, swindlers will find your address and then track down the nearest Walmart. This makes the situation appear believable so they can trick you into buying gift cards. While on the phone with the swindler, Johnson purchased two, $500 gift cards. Then read the information on the back to the crook.

Here are the three ways to dodge phone scams.

1. Do not answer unknown numbers. When you do, swindlers know you have a working number and they'll just keep calling.

2. Join both no call lists. There's a federal and state.

Federal Do Not Call:
1-888-382-1222
https://www.donotcall.gov/

Missouri Do Not Call:
866-No Call 1 (866-662-2551)
https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/no-call

3. Try a roboblocker/scam blocker app. There are plenty of apps out there.

Consumer Reports says try: Nomorobo, Hiya, Mr. Number, RoboKiller, and YouMail.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.