ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Caller tries to scam county attorney

ALEXANDRIA, Minn-- A scammer picked the wrong person to call: Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson. Larson shared his experience in an effort to alert others of the scam. He received the call on his cell phone a little after 8 p.m. on May 26. Alth...

ALEXANDRIA, Minn-- A scammer picked the wrong person to call: Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson.

Larson shared his experience in an effort to alert others of the scam.

He received the call on his cell phone a little after 8 p.m. on May 26.

Although he rarely answers calls from numbers that he doesn’t recognize, his caller ID indicated that it was a local call so he answered it.

A pre-recorded voice told him that he had been “pre-selected for a complimentary stay at a five-star Marriott Hotel.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“I immediately hung up because I knew it was a scam,” Larson said. “But what really bothered me was the fact that this call originated from our area code.”

So Larson called the number reflected in his caller ID log. A male voice answered and Larson explained that he received a call from his number and asked him if he was engaged in telemarketing.

“He denied that and became concerned about a third party using his number,” Larson said. “I suggested that he contact his phone carrier to see if he was incurring unusual charges. He said he would. I told him that I would look into the matter and call him back.”

Larson found out that this scam has been going on for more than two years.

“Marriott has nothing to do with it,” he said. “The calls are coming from an overseas source that uses local area codes and prefixes – innocent people’s phone numbers.”

If Larson had not hung up, he would have been prompted to push the #1 button on his phone to accept his “free stay.”

“I would have then been connected to a live person who would have requested my credit card number to ‘hold my reservation,’” Larson said. “They would have then squeezed me for whatever other personal information they could get from me in an attempt to rip-off my identity.”

Marriott is aware of the scam, Larson said, as is the Federal Trade Commission.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Unfortunately, there’s not much they can do about it,” he said. “At the moment, our only defense is awareness.”

Larson’s advice: “Beware of robo-calls or any caller that says that you have won a contest, lottery, sweepstakes, or anything that you didn’t sign up for. Never give out your credit card or bank account information to an unsolicited caller. Whether it is a foreign lottery scam, a sweepstakes scam, or an inheritance scam, Douglas County residents have been ripped off to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars already.

“The scum that place these calls are willing to place thousands of them looking for the few that take the bait,” Larson added. “They target the elderly and the gullible. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Just hang up, and remind your friends and family to do the same.”

Related Topics: DOUGLAS COUNTY
What To Read Next
Navigator CO2 Ventures is hoping to streamline the application process in Illinois as they add an additional pipeline to the mix.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the Wednesday, Jan. 25, crash.
Testimony to the top House committee from a convicted attendee of the Jan. 6 rally focused on the "inhumane" treatment of Jan. 6 defendants. The committee rejected a resolution on the matter 12-0.
Rep. Fred Deutsch, an opponent of last year's failed cannabis ballot measure, introduced a proposal to disallow consecutive attempts at statewide referenda. A House committee rejected the bill 10-2.