CENTRAL TEXAS (June 20, 2012)—Authorities are reporting an uptick in scams in the Central Texas area, one of the newest of which involves callers claiming to be from a collection agency that’s collecting money owed to the defunct BMG Music Club, which went out of business three years ago.
The scammers reportedly place the calls from either an 800 number or a number in the 317 area code, which is assigned to Central Indiana.
Those who receive the calls are told they owe several hundred dollars and that if they don’t pay up, their credit ratings will suffer.
One target of the scam reported that the caller cited three different amounts for what she owed during their conversation.
She said the address the caller had for her was for a relative's house in which she has never lived.
When she asked how the scammer got the number, the caller said that it was "Googled" and could be confirmed through Facebook.
The caller agreed to waive a $500 charge after the woman said she would not pay over the phone and would get her attorney involved.
Another scam targets elderly residents who are told their Social Security numbers are being changed.
The callers then request personal information.
The Social Security Administration doesn’t call to request personal information and very rarely if ever change Social Security numbers.
The Better Business Bureau reports an increase in asphalt paving scams in which unscrupulous contractors may offer bargain prices if residents pay in advance, but often leave the job unfinished or perform sub-par work.
Also, a prepaid money transfer card is at the center of a scam that continues to spread across Waco, the Better Business Bureau says.
MoneyPak cards can be used to add money to PayPal accounts or to make same-day payments to major companies.
Earlier this month, resident reported she was contacted and told she had won $500,000 from Publisher's Clearing House and that a television crew would be coming to her house in Waco a few hours later.
According to the would-be victim, the caller, who had a very thick accent, instructed her to go to the Waco Walmart store and purchase a MoneyPak card.
When the caller told her to put $440 on the card to cover two percent of taxes, she realized it was a scam.
The Better Business Bureau reported that this scam has been circulating around the area.
According to BBB reports, the scammer will stay in contact until the person who purchases the card provides the numbers from the back of the card.
The numbers are then used to transfer the funds from the card into the scammer's account.
The BBB says to watch out for over-the-phone scams in which the caller has a thick accent, asks for personal information or asks that something be done to receive something that is supposed to be free.