Local News

Chapel Hill police warn against telemarketing scams

Posted January 24, 2012

— The Chapel Hill Police Department has recently received reports of telemarketing scams which indicate that potential victims have won large sums of money or high-priced items. 

To claim the prizes, however, the scams require victims to wire money to the scammer in order to claim their prize. In one particular scam, the calls show up as coming from an 876 area code in Jamaica. 

Calling this area code causes the victims to incur large international calling fees on their telephone bill, police said. Scams like these often target the elderly and are designed to extort money from victims who never receive a prize. 

The N.C. Department of Justice has recommendations for avoiding scams: 

  • Never share your Social Security Number, bank account or credit card information with someone you don’t know who calls you or emails you.
  • Walk away from high-pressure sellers who tell you that you must make a decision right away.
  • Don’t sign any contract or other paperwork until you’ve had a chance to read and understand it.
  • Never pay money upfront to get a loan or win a lottery or sweepstakes.
  • Don’t respond to letters or emails that ask you to help transfer money into your bank account or wire money out of the country.
  • Don’t cash checks you get in the mail along with a letter or call that tells you you’ve won an unexpected prize. The checks are most likely fakes.
  • Check out a company with Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM before you do business with them. 
  • Sign Up for the “Do Not Call Registry” - You can sign up for the Registry for free by telephone or through the Internet. To register by phone, you must call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you wish to register. To register online, go to www.DONOTCALL.gov. You must have an active email address to register through the Internet so you can receive an email that is part of the registration process.

For additional information visit the N.C. Department of Justice website.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Rebelyell55 Jan 24, 2012

    The do not call registry is a joke. While it may cut down on how many calls ya get, it don't stop em all. People who don't care will continue to abuse it and call anyway. The new catch now they try to use is if ya push 9 then you're call them. What one guy told me. I told him I was reporting him anyway and we'll let the AG decide that part, he hung up.

  • unc70 Jan 24, 2012

    Caller ID's are easily spoofed. Trivial using VOIP technology.

    I also have one landline extension that lacks caller ID or anything else fancier than touchtone. It often works when everything else fails during ice storms, hurricanes, etc.

  • sunshine1040 Jan 24, 2012

    When are people going to learn excpt for the cost of raffle or lottery tickets you do not need to pay in advance to win something . Do not worry the goverment will get what they think is their share when you file your income tax. The lottery will and the casino will ask for the necessary info to have tx whith help from your winnings the same as your employer does

  • St Ives Jan 24, 2012

    Wehartycary I agree, I make a complaint on the Do not call register every time they call, and I also sometimes tell them myself what I am going to do. Last time I let them put me through I told the girl I was reporting them and she shriked very loudly in m ear and hung up! Have asked the AGs office many time to do something. The fines alone would support our schools for ten years if they did.

  • IzzMad2016 Jan 24, 2012

    "I DO wish someone in the Attorney General's office would do something about the repetitive "Hi. I'm Rachel (or is it "Heather" now??) from Cardholder Services" calls that keep coming in to MANY folks in the local area."

    "Rachel" calls me practically every other week. I've pushed "9" a couple of times to ask to be put on their do not call list but as soon as they realize you aren't interested in their scam they hang up on you. Grrrrrrrrrr.

  • FE Jan 24, 2012

    "Are there any phones that don't have caller ID?" - brmyspots

    Some of us still have (main or additional) land-line telephones.

  • iron fist Jan 24, 2012

    there are alot of phone scams going on I have gotten to the point if I don't know who is calling I don't answer the phone if someone really needs to talk to me they can call my cell or leave a message

  • sabby06 Jan 24, 2012

    I work for a check cashing company. We also do the wire transfers through MoneyGram. You would be surprised at the amount of people that come in here with a check for thousands of dollars saying they received it in the mail for a sweepstakes in Canada or somewhere else that they have never been to. Then there are the ones that are wiring money to another country for a dog or some kind of prize that they won but need to pay shipping for.

  • Roadmeat Jan 24, 2012

    You can always take one of those checks to the bank and ask them to validate it as well. I've done that on a few occasions when something looked legit but I wasn't sure.

  • brmyspots Jan 24, 2012

    Another GOOD reason to have caller ID.

    Are there any phones that don't have caller ID?