'Press one' telephone scam calls becoming more frequent
All she knew is that the prerecorded message she was hearing sounded urgent.
"This needs to be handled as soon as possible," the message said. "Please correct this matter immediately as you may be personally liable."
While her family isn't quite sure what may come of it, the prerecorded message told the woman she had to press "one" on her telephone to clear up the matter. Now they're worried because she did as instructed.
Just two weeks ago, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office warned of a scam in which a county resident received a call about a debt she knew nothing about. When the local resident pressed "one" on her phone as instructed during that call, she was later hit with a long distance phone bill.
The "press one" scam can come in many forms, according to consumer protection agencies, and has been around for several years.
The son-in-law of the Blacksburg woman said his wife also received a suspicious pre-recorded call withthe same request that she "press one" on her phone. In that case, the pre-recorded call advised them the warranty on their vehicle was about to run out and they had to act fast.
If a call sounds suspicious, Alice Brooks of South Carolina Consumer Affairs says you should simply hang up.
"If it's not something you recognize, hang up rather than pushing one or two or three or whatever they're saying."
If you can capture the number of the caller on Caller ID, Brooks said you can ask Consumer Affairs to check it out for you.
"I would not deal with them directly," she said of the callers, "and by all means, never give out sensitive information over the telephone."
If you think you've fallen victim to a "press one" scam, Brooks said document as much as you can, including the time and date of the call, and carefully review your telephone bills.
She said you should also be able to call your local or long distance telephone carriers to see if there has been any unauthorized billing on your account.
The man whose mother-inlaw may have fallen victim said he contacted her carrier to see if there were any unusual charges, but was told he'll have to wait until the next bill comes out