Attorney General Morrisey Warns of Global Phone Scam

Updated 19 weeks ago by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning state residents of a massive, internationally-based telephone scam with the potential to cost mobile phone users thousands of dollars.

 
Field representatives for the Attorney General’s Office have received word of the scam from consumers in numerous counties around the state.
 
“This is just another example of how scammers are always inventing new ways to steal,” said Attorney General Morrisey. “As long as people ignore these annoying calls, they’ll be fine.”
 
The calls originate from Lithuania, Morocco and other nations. Consumers can identify such calls by the country code, such as +370, +32 and so on, as opposed to the more routine area code that is surrounded by parentheses, such as (304).
 
The scam calls have become so globally pervasive that they even have their own name: “Wangiri,” Japanese for “one cut,” as the scam artist targets consumers with a series of single-ring calls.
 
The repeated, single-ring calls bombard a person’s mobile device, often from different numbers making it near impossible to block additional calls.
 
Scammers hope customers will return their calls. By doing this, consumers could incur hefty phone charges or be subject to aggressive sales techniques for very expensive services.
 
The Attorney General recommended the following to consumers who receive such calls:
  • Do not answer an unsolicited or unexpected call, especially from a foreign country.
  • Never share identity, financial and otherwise sensitive information with a stranger.
  • Verify the caller’s identity and their representation of the entity they represent.
  • Never agree to send cash, wire money or provide numbers associated with a credit/debit card or bank account.
  • Do not send money on prepaid cards or gift cards.
The Attorney General also encouraged those who believe they have fallen victim to these scam artists to contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit www.wvago.gov.
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