Every year Oregonians lose thousands of dollars to telephone scams. Last year, Jeff D. from Silverton, Oregon, learned his aging father wired $1,300 to a scammer in Paris, Texas. The scam was simple. A caller told his father over the phone that he had won $350,000 and a GMC Denali. There was just one catch – his father had to pay the taxes before he could claim his prize. Jeff never thought something like this could happen to his father.
"These people are masters at manipulative techniques. They prey on the emotional status of people who want to help their family and others," said Jeff.
In commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15, 2016), Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today released a "Just Hang Up!" campaign to educate Oregonians about imposter scams and fraudulent phone calls.
To launch the campaign, the Oregon Department of Justice will distribute hundreds of posters to retirement centers and state agencies throughout Oregon. The poster includes six tips on when you should “Just Hang Up!” These include if the caller:
- Asks you to wire money or buy a prepaid card;
- Says you have won a prize or a gift but you need to pay fees or taxes first;
- Asks you to visit websites or download software;
- Asks for usernames, passwords, account numbers, or your home address;
- Says the offer is only good for today; or asks you to keep the call a secret.
“Scammers will say anything to cheat people out of money. Some seem very friendly — calling you by your first name, making small talk, and asking about your family. They may claim to work for a company you trust, or they might even say they work for a government agency. If you get a call you weren’t expecting, look for the signs it’s a scam outlined in this new campaign, and don’t worry about being impolite. JUST HANG UP!” said AG Rosenblum.
If you have fallen victim to a fraud or a scam, please contact the Oregon Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 or online at www.oregonconsumer.gov.
Kristina Edmunson, Department of Justice, Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us, 503-378-6002