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Parma Heights grandmother issues Northeast Ohio phone fraud warning

She gives fake callers a dose of their own medicine
Parma Heights grandmother issues N.E. Ohio phone fraud warning
Posted at 10:23 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 23:17:00-04

PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio — Eleanor Rusnak of Parma Heights is so fed-up with con artists ringing her phone with bogus offers that she's decided to issue her own warning about the wide variety of telephone impostors who have tried to swindle her money or obtain her personal information.

The 88-year-old grandmother told News 5 that the most recent scam was solicited by a person posing as an AT&T customer service representative, who asked for her checking account information and more than $150 to prove her subscription.

“The woman said this is Jennifer from AT&T calling and we are installing new software in the area there," Rusnak said. “And she said every month for a year, you’ll get $30 off. I said I can’t do this, I don’t have a checking account or anything, my granddaughter does all this. I can’t do anything, she handles all my accounts, but she said, well can you get her on the phone right now.”

Parma Heights grandmother issues scam call warning
Eleanor Rusnak of Parma Heights reports bogus offers are ringing her phone multiple times every week.

Rusnak explained that when she's been bombarded by fake telephone offers, occasionally she'll give the con artist caller a dose of their own medicine.

"You get so aggravated with them, sometimes you decide to play the game with them and at the end, you say get a job and hang up on them,” said Rusnak.

Cleveland Better Business Bureau president Sue McConnell confirmed bogus telephone offers are a growing Northeast Ohio issue as we head into the summer season, especially among older consumers.

McConnell said some of the current top impostor phone scams have callers posing as Publisher Clearing House sweepstakes employees, Amazon customer service and con artists who use the "grandparents scam," posing as a grandchild or family member who is trapped in an emergency situation.

“They want to induce panic so that you'd be quickly inclined to do something," said McConnell.

McConnell also mentioned that you must be skeptical in order to avoid being scammed.

“You have to be very skeptical, you have to not immediately agree to provide the money or confidential personal information until you’ve had a chance to think about it and then you call them back.”

Parma Heights grandmother issues N.E. Ohio phone fraud warning
Cleveland BBB President Sue McConnell said fake callers try to induce panic to swindle money or personal information.

McConnell urged consumers to check the authenticity of the phone call offer by contacting the BBB or getting online and using the BBB Scam Tracker interactive map to get information on popular scams hitting their community.

Meanwhile, Rusnak has a final warning about these bogus phone offers and instructed consumers to call back companies by looking up legitimate phone numbers.

"That’s how they scam you, with a real sweet voice," Rusnak said. “Get the numbers, have it on hand, have it right by your phone. When you hang up from that phone call, call that right number and talk to that person directly.”