FTC fights scammers by releasing phone numbers connected to scam calls

Posted at 6:45 AM, Feb 20, 2018

A simple phone call claiming to be from Rite Aid stopped David Khas in his tracks.

"They wanted to verify some information and the first question was, 'What's your birthdate?'" remembered Khas. "I'm not about to give any personal information out over the telephone for somebody that I don't know and I hung up."

When David called Rite Aid, the local store didn't know anything about the call and even national Customer Service said it wasn't from them. 

When you call the number, a computer answers and sounds like what you'd expect the Rite Aid line to sound like. A quick Google search of the number shows that it's the same one that's tried to scam a whole bunch of other people, including some of his neighbors.

"The most important thing I would recommend is do not trust," said Cleveland BBB Director of Operations Ericka Dilworth. "Do not trust a phone call that comes through, do not trust an email that comes through regardless of whether it's someone you do business with every day."

She says even though people hear about scams like this one often, they still work.

"Scammers are good at what they do," said Dilworth. "They know how to say what they need to say to you to make you feel comfortable with the conversation."

The Federal Trade Commissions tells us they've recently started to release daily lists of scammers' numbers so the public and telephone companies can take their own action.

This kind of message coming up on a cellphone is likely a result of the FTC's lists. They say going after numbers in the legal system requires federal court cases, but simply alerting phone companies to numbers accused of being scammers can be a quick remedy.