Newport PD warn about new phone scam involving school

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

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

One of the calls went to MJ's Restaurant & Catering toGo 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 toldher that she was a coordinator at the elementary school.

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

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

"You just don't ever give your credit card or a check overthe phone," Curtner says, "because if they really want your business, they'regoing 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 theschool.

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

Curtner then called the school to let them know what hadhappened.

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

"My intuition was right. It was definitely a scam," Curtnersays. "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 upimmediately and do not give the caller any personal or financial information.

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