PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Telemarketer scams are sweeping Region 8. Arkansas State Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office reports an alarmingly large number of recent scam calls in the area.
They all share a common link. The number calling is always from the 876 area code.
"I was unaware of it and so I figured a lot of people in town probably were, too," Paragould mother Charlene Wilson said.
She said the telemarketer first said she won $250,000. "I immediately hung up on them. But, later that day, I got on a telephone call with a family member and someone had tried to call me six times in a ten-minute span. After hanging up, I called the number back to find out that it was the same person, the telemarketer."
She also found out that in order to receive her prize, she needed to give the telemarketer $400 on a pre-paid Green Dot card to pay for part of the winnings. "They would send a check to the IRS to have it verified and I immediately thought, you know, an elderly person, you know, could hear that term, IRS, and think it's legit, when it's not."
She then contacted the attorney general's office. "They called me back the next day and said they had gotten several complaints from this area, especially with 876 numbers, which was exactly the number that had called me."
These 876 numbers have targeted others in the community, saying they are businesses, like Publisher's Clearing House. Region 8 News called one of these numbers three times and these were the responses.
"Publisher's Clearing House."
The third time Region 8 called the same number, a third person on the other line said they will give the prize as soon as they get money.
Wilson said she did not give the telemarketer any information or money, but said she is worried others in the community could fall into the telemarketer's trap.
"Avoid answering the phone all together if they see the number on the I. D. I'm sure they use other numbers to contact people as well, but if they get any telemarketer calls to immediately call the attorney general and turn in the number," Wilson said.
Wilson said the attorney general's office told her it is still investigating these scams.