Imposter Scams Getting More Sophisticated - WSPA.com

Imposter Scams Getting More Sophisticated

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GREENVILLE, S.C. -

Watch out for phone calls saying you've won a government grant. The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs warns sometimes the caller will know a lot about you, but that doesn't mean they're really with the federal government.

"I thought it was real. Call me dumb, but I thought it was real," said Michael McCorkle from Greenville.

It's easy to pass judgment on scam victims thinking you'd never fall for it yourself. But once you hear how he was lured in, ask yourself how you would really react.

First the background: He got a call from a man claiming to be from the Department of Revenue saying he had won a $9000 disability related grant.

Now listen to this. McCorkle says the scammer had his "birthday, social security number, he had my card number, I have 2 cards, government issued cards, he knew those."

Pretty scary.

Juliana Harris with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs says the growing number of identity theft cases make these scams all the more common.

"It's important to know that just because someone you know spitting back some information to you that is correct doesn't mean you should verify some more information," said Harris.

She also says, as in this case, callers often use names of trusted government agencies to gain credibility. It's called imposter scams.  

"If you're purportedly from a government agency a lot of times people are more willing to verify information because there's trust there," said Harris.

Of course, there's always a catch. In some cases the scammers ask for your bank account number to direct deposit the money. In McCorkle's case, they asked him to wire a $250 fee.

"And I realized they just wanted money," he said.

His skepticism led him to call us. We set the record straight. No money lost.

And McCorkle is actually for the better. He's changed his accounts which will hopefully protect him in the future.

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