By Perly Viasmensky
It is unbelievable the number of scam and fraud calls targeting senior citizens with the intention of scaring them and possibly scamming money from them.
An older good friend of mine called me a couple of days ago, practically in panic because of an email she had just received, which actually was a voicemail on her cell phone.
The transcription of the voice mail read: “We received a legal complaint to block your Social Security number immediately, so before we go ahead legally blocking your Social Security number, press 1 or call us back on our number 469-482-5120. I repeat 469-482-5120. Have a blessed day.”
Has anyone known of a government agency such as the Social Security Administration or the Internal Revenue Service sending this type of communication by voice mail and ending the call with “have a blessed day?”
Researching the number 469-482-5120, information came back that such a number is listed to Christine Sanborn from Diftwtarpt, Texas. And the numbers are purchased from some Business Phone Card business.
What kind of rip-off is this? I used to live in Dallas, Texas but never heard of Diftwtarpt, so I wanted to know where in the world this city is located. It is, in fact, listed on the internet as Central Texas, near Dallas.
Is this where all the scammers live and operate? On the other hand, there are people who filed for unemployment benefits, and in four months they have seen not even a penny from the Department of Employment, Rehabilitation and Training.
Another friend of mine applied for unemployment benefits since her small business in downtown Las Vegas was forced to close on March 23rd by orders of the governor. They are back to work now, but only working a few hours a week, because there is no business whatsoever.
She was telling me about the number of calls she is receiving from unknown companies telling her: “We understand you have applied for unemployment and that you are looking for a job. What line of work are you looking for?”
How do these people know that my friend has applied for unemployment benefits, and how do they know her telephone number? We need to think that someone in the Distrct Economic Recovery Team (DERT) call center is disclosing personal information and let’s hope they are not selling it.
My friend says she is continuing to send her claims in on a weekly basis knowing she is likely not going to see any resources for her to be able to pay her mortgage, electric, gas and water bills, and she is getting frustrated that her personal information is being passed on to people she doesn’t even know, probably by some of the call center people employed by the State of Nevada.
After listening to my friend’s valid complaints, I concentrated on my own thoughts — who are those people working the call centers? Who supervises them? Are they subject to background checks? It is the same question I always asked myself when going to a doctor’s office. The first thing they ask is for your insurance card and picture ID. Hey, what’s the purpose of a picture ID? When I applied for insurance, they never asked me for my picture, so what’s the purpose of that picture after the fact? Do I know who the employee of the doctor is? Does he or she have a friend waiting for my information to be used in any type of fraud? They need to find other ways to identify people.
I always wonder if the State of Nevada needs to use call centers for every one of their departments, including the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Why would the city need employees? What are those employees doing (and we, the taxpayers, are paying their salaries) when the call centers are doing all the work?
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Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at email@example.com
By Perly Viasmensky