April 24, 2014

Editorial: Scammers busy trying to fool you

You may not need a reminder, but we’re offering one up anyway: There are phony phoners out there bent on separating you from your money. 

Over the past couple of weeks, a man calling himself Carl Matthews who, he says, works for the Wilmington, Del., law firm Taylor, Cross & Associates, has been calling a reliable acquaintance of ours, informing him he has come into a sizable amount of money via a lottery.

The acquaintance insisted each time he has entered no lottery. “Carl” asked, “What about last year?” No, he was told, no lotteries have been pursued from this house.

Carl then named a couple of prominent lotteries, in case our acquaintance’s memory needed jogging. No, he was told, no lotteries.

“Are you sure?” Carl asked, possibly thinking the lure of big money might overwhelm the facts of the situation.

Apparently giving up, Carl then hung up, vowing to find out how this misunderstanding could have happened.

He called back a week or two later with the same set of queries. Again, he hung up when assured the acquaintance had entered no such contests — possibly flummoxed over making a second call to the same potential victim.

Later in the day, a young woman called with the same set of questions. Informed “Carl Matthews” had already cast a line into these waters, she replied, “Carl Matthews? Hmm. … Oh, he’s just an associate attorney” and hung up.

The pair had called on a cellphone, so our acquaintance called back the number, and a recorded voice said, “Hello. Leave a message.” Hardly the procedure likely to be followed by a reputable law firm, which would obviously identify the firm.

The New York State Attorney General’s Office in Plattsburgh tells us such scams are virtually impossible to track, because the phone numbers can be routed through several locales.

Text Only | Photo Reprints