The Investigators: Cell Phone Chargers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Investigators: Cell Phone Chargers

By Andy Wise - bio | email

NEWBERN, TN (WMC TV) - No agency or corporation, particularly a cellular phone company, will ever call you to request personal information.

Nor will it ever request pass codes or passwords to your accounts. Remember, it issued those things in the first place.

But Michelle Yarbrough and at least two more Dyer County, TN, residents gave up their personal information after a Verizon Wireless impostor was already half-way to their money.

"He actually gave me some information that made me think he was actually from Verizon," said Yarbrough.

She said the caller already had her husband's Verizon Wireless cell service account number, digit-for-digit. He told her that her husband's latest bill had not been paid, even though her records clearly indicated it was.

The caller then asked for the last four digits of her husband's Social Security number and for the security code to his Verizon account. Because the scammer already had her husband's full account number, Yarbrough was suckered.

"I ended up giving him what he wanted," she said.

Minutes later, her husband's account was billed more than $700 for an additional cell phone.

Neither her husband Trevor, nor Verizon Wireless's South Central Region Public Relations Manager Ginger Daril could explain how or why the caller had his cell phone account number.

Daril acknowledged the company was aware of the phishing scam, but could not comment directly about the scheme or how widespread it may be.

"If you receive a call requesting such information, tell the caller you want to confirm who you are talking to," Daril said. "Contact the inquiring company yourself to address the matter."

The Action News 5 Investigators were able to trace the Yarbroughs' caller to a residential address in Decatur, GA, an Atlanta suburb, but the phone number had been disconnected.

Verizon Wireless credited Trevor Yarbrough's account the full amount of the fraudulent purchase.

"To protect access to personal information on your phone, make sure your phone is password-protected," said Daril. "Don't use birthdays, pet names or any other common combination.

"Consider using a sentence that even your closest friends cannot decipher. For example: 'The Memphis Redbirds are number 1 in baseball:  TMRBAN1IB.'"

And don't share any personal information unless you initiated the call. 

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