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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal


Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2019 03:03 PM

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Tennessee Scammer Who Calls TBI Employee Gets Busted

"It's not a scam, ma'am," an unidentified man told Tennessee Bureau of Investigation public information officer Susan Niland over the phone. "Here's a hint: it didn't end well...for him," TBI tweeted on its official account.

In a nine-minute video on TBI's Twitter account, a scammer happened upon the wrong person. A man, claiming to be from a third party credit card company, can be heard asking Niland for her credit card number and expiration date.

"Can I just give you the last four digits so you can verify it?" Niland asked.

Over the phone, she tells the scammer she has heard plenty about scams and would rather him "match it up" on his end.

The caller says he understands where she is coming from: "There are too many things going on like scams or rip offs, right?"

He said he would not ask for any "confidential information" such as her signature because, he said, "Once you give that out over the phone, you can be in a lot of trouble, right?"

The scammer continues to badger her to give him the credit card information in order to fix her interest rates. She dodges the caller, reminding him that "there are scams out there."

He said she wouldn't be "responsible" for, among other things, misuse of her information. Still, she keeps him on the line while refusing to give her information out and asks for his number to verify that he is from a legitimate service.

Finally, the scammer begins to get frustrated. "Please cut the crap, ma'am," he says, and he accuses her of wasting his time.

"I thought maybe you were wasting my time," Niland responded.

She again asks him for his number, but he refuses and says that it will cost her money. "I'm willing to risk that," she told the scammer.

"No, ma'am, I don't want to risk that," he replied.

The scammer hung up when Niland revealed her employer.

"Well, I'm calling from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation," Niland said, "And we have phone accounts already, so it's not really that big of a deal from our end."

On Twitter, TBI included a link to Consumer Information to educate citizens about credit card fraud.

Tips on that website include:

- Don't give your account number to anyone unless you've made a call to a reputable company

- Carry your cards separately from your wallet to minimize losses if your wallet/purse is stolen

- Keep an eye on your card during a transaction

- Never sign a blank receipt and draw lines through black spaces above the total

- Save your receipts to compare them with your total

- Open bills promptly, check them online

- Report questionable charges made to your card issuer

- Notify your card issuer if your address changes or if you travel

- Don't write your account number on the outside of an envelope