According to a report from television station WYTX in Beaumont, Texas, police in that city have been flooded with complaints about a new phone scam that has hit a number of residents. In the scam, a would-be identity thief calls a home and purports himself or herself as a law enforcement official that is trying to flesh out the details of a case. They typically say that these cases involve either someone writing bad checks in their name or another kind of identity theft in which the person receiving the call is the victim.
These criminals then ask their potential victim to provide personal details. They have asked for information such as their name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, mother's maiden name or even financial data like bank account details or credit card numbers, the report said. If asked what agency they're from, the scammer on the other end will give false information, change the subject or hang up.
The report said that police believe these calls to be originating in Jamaica. One call left a Kingston phone number on a caller ID machine. In another instance, a criminal gave their office phone number with the same area code (876), though a call back by investigators found that line to be dead.
Police in Beaumont are attempting to spread the word about the scam, and telling consumers that they should never give out their personal information, no matter how harmless it seems, to anyone that contacts them on the phone, by mail, or online. No law enforcement officer would ever ask a citizen to provide them with personal information in this manner.
If a consumer suspects they have been victimized by identity theft, they should order a copy of their credit report and check it thoroughly for any information that may be inaccurate. They should also contact authorities, such as their local police department and district attorney's office, to report any potential breach of their personal information, as it may be part of a larger crime spree.