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Deputy warns of telemarketer scam

Posted: March 29, 2013 4:13 p.m.
Updated: March 29, 2013 4:13 p.m.

A Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputy is warning local residents to be wary of a phone scam in which the caller attempts to obtain a bank account number.

Deputy Josh Dubin said Friday he has received word of a scam that involved a man who used publicly available information to try to gain access to the bank account of a Newhall resident.

The intended victim, who spoke with The Signal Friday, said she received a phone call Wednesday from a man who said he was a representative from Medicare.

The man said he needed to send the woman a new Medicare card.

After asking the woman what bank she has an account with, the man recited the bank’s routing number and asked the woman for her account number.

There are two numbers that correspond to a bank account. One is the routing number that identifies the bank a person uses. The other corresponds to a person’s actual bank account.

Both these numbers appear on the bottom of checks. The account number is what the caller was after, but the woman refused to give it to him, saying Medicare has nothing to do with her bank account number.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of this particular scam,” Dubin said. “However, there are a number of telemarketing fraud-type scams out there.”

Dubin said it is unlikely that any company would solicit account numbers over the phone and said anyone who is asked to divulge such information should hang up the phone and contact the company the person is claiming to represent to determine if the call was legitimate.

Dubin also said to be aware of “red flags” for possible telemarketing scams. Such warning signs include callers saying someone has won a free gift but must provide information or payment to claim it, or callers saying someone must “act fast” to take advantage of a limited-time offer.

Added the deputy: “That goes back to if something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true,”
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