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The Carthage Press
  • Scammers calling homes to get computer access

  • When Denise McConnell got the first call Monday night, it was alarming.
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  • When Denise McConnell got the first call Monday night, it was alarming.
    A man with a heavy accent, so thick McConnell said she could only understand three words, said her “Microsoft computer had been hacked,” and he needed her “Internet file.”
    McConnell didn't fall for the call, she had a cousin who knows computers check her’s and he said her's was secure. She also called her bank to make sure her accounts were secure. They were, so she had the bank flag them and notify her if there was any unusual withdrawals.
    But she's concerned for others.
    “He's going to get to someone,” McConnell said. “He's going to call someone and they're going to be like, here you go and thank you for helping, but he's not going to help. Once they get in there, they can steal your money, leave a virus, anything.”
    McConnell said one of the scariest parts of her encounter with the telephone scammer was his persistence. He called seven times and his number was listed on her caller ID as unknown, so she couldn't block him.
    After she and her family left the house, they returned and there were three more calls from an unknown number.
    “Ten calls in one night, that's scary,” McConnell said.
    McConnell called the Carthage Police Department and reported her encounter.
    CPD says there are a number of different telephone scams that seem to be making the rounds.
    Officers have gotten calls about people calling wanting to help with computer viruses, calling representing the phone company or representing the electric company, all in recent days.
    Carthage police recommend immediately hanging up on the person and calling your telephone company to try to put a block on the number.
    Joplin police recently sent out a news release saying someone was calling and trying to extort money from people claiming to be an Empire District Electric Company employee.
    According to the police, Empire became aware of the scam when advised by a group of customers that a person was calling telling them that their electric service will be disconnected unless they purchase a money order or a prepaid debit card and then give that information to the caller within a certain amount of time.
    According to Brent Baker, director of Customer Service for Empire, “We would not ask a customer to purchase a money order or prepaid debit card to make a payment.  We also do not make calls regarding delinquent accounts on weekends and evenings.  If a customer receives such a call, we ask they call our contact center at 800-206-2300.  This is the number listed in the phone book and on our website.”
    Page 2 of 2 - If you have received a call regarding this type of activity and made a payment, please contact your local law enforcement to make a police report. 

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