Newport PD warn about new phone scam involving school - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Newport PD warn about new phone scam involving school

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NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) – The Newport Police Department wants to get out the word concerning a new phone scam targeting the town.

Police began receiving several complaints about the scam Tuesday, according to Lt. Patrick Weatherford. The caller reportedly claims to be an employee at Newport Elementary School that is raising money for a cause that few can ignore.

One of the calls went to MJ's Restaurant & Catering to Go in Newport, where the caller asked for owner Marcia Curtner by name.

"I just knew that something just wasn't right," Curtner says.

When Curtner answered the phone Tuesday afternoon, a woman told her that she was a coordinator at the elementary school.

"I thought oh, they must need a luncheon catered or something," Churner says. "At the same time, I though Newport Elementary coordinator? I don't even remember us ever having someone with that title."

The woman asked Curtner if she would like to spend $238 on an ad for the school's anti-bullying campaign.

"You just don't ever give your credit card or a check over the phone," Curtner says, "because if they really want your business, they're going to come see you face-to-face."

Curtner says she began questioning the woman on the line – pressing her about her job and asking if she actually makes a paycheck at the school.

"I said, ‘I'm just not comfortable with this – what did you say your name was again?'" Curtner says. "She slammed the phone down."

Curtner then called the school to let them know what had happened.

Administrators alerted Newport police and confirmed the scam. The school explained it does not solicit donations via telephone and is not working with any third party to raise money.

"My intuition was right. It was definitely a scam," Curtner says. "I hope everybody will pay attention and listen and not be fooled."

Police say the calls have been coming from a 214 area code, which is in Texas.

If you receive a call like this, police say hang up immediately and do not give the caller any personal or financial information.

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