Scam artists steal local phone numbers to get you to pick up

Scam artists have upped their game. Now, they're stealing local numbers to trick you further.

Posted: May. 10, 2018 12:07 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- If you've ever answered the phone and heard an automated voice on the other end, you know the pain of telemarketers. Scam artists have upped their game, though. Now, they're stealing local numbers to trick you further. 

Rebecca O'Dell gets calls from local numbers all day, every day. Sometimes it's family or friends, but she said usually it's a telemarketer. 

"I've gotten a couple 800 numbers, but for the most part they're 260 area code," she said. 

Marjorie Stephens, the president of the Better Business Bureau, said O'Dell isn't alone in getting these strange calls, and the person on the other end could be a scam artist. 

"It's not legal.... Because of the technology with these robocalls and people being able to use these particular machines to get the numbers, it's very hard to do. it's very hard to stop these calls from coming in," Stephens said. 

Stephens said you can still report the numbers to the attorney general's office. 

"They can be arrested, but the chances of finding these people is almost impossible. A lot of these people work outside the country. They might set up shop for a little while, take off, and go somewhere else," Stephens said. 

O'Dell is a prepaid cellphone customer, and said her options are limited through the company. 

"I know my phone itself, I can go ahead and block numbers, but other than that, there's not much I can really do," O'Dell said. 

O'Dell and her husband have even hung up on the telemarketers, only to have them call back. 

"They've actually called back from a different number just to curse him out," she said. 

Beqi Moncur works from home, so ignoring the calls isn't an option. 

"It's my business number, so it's not something that I can just ignore phone calls and not answer, I have to actually pick up," Moncur said. 

Moncur said the scam artists are only targetting her and her husband. They're also after her 10 year old daughter, after upgrading her from a Gizmo watch. 

"We've upgraded her to a regular cellphone... She's had four missed calls from unknown local phone numbers that were solicitors," she said. 

Stephens said anyone who receives the calls might want to look into available apps. 

"There are actually apps out there that can sometimes pick up whether or not it's a scam or for real," she said. 

Apps like Robokiller, Mr. Number, and Truecaller work with Apple and Android products to let you know if the person on the other end will waste your time, but they might cost you. Robokiller is listed at $2.99 per month. It's a price Moncur said she'd be willing to pay. 

"Definitely at least for the security for my daughter, yes," she said. 

Robokiller, Mr. Number, Truecaller and similar apps are available in the app store. 

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