Scammers find new ways to trick South Dakotans into picking up the phone

Published: Jun. 21, 2017 at 10:49 PM CDT
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If you're getting a lot more telemarketing calls lately, you’re not alone.

Officials from the South Dakota Better Business Bureau say if you’re getting calls from telemarketers there’s a 3-to-1 chance that they are actually criminals trying to trick people out of their hard earned money.

Scams used to be easier to spot since the caller used numbers from out of state or even overseas, but scammers have now found a way to use the 605 area code to get South Dakotans to answer their calls.

“Today's phone call was that they had a federal warrant issued for me and that they were coming to get me,” Shelley Fox from Viborg said.

She gets calls like these all the time.

“They're relentless. They don't stop,” she stated.

While some can be easier scams to spot, like the increasingly more common IRS scam, some sound inviting.

However, since her number is on the “Do not call list” it's very likely that all of these calls are a scam even the ones from a South Dakota numbers.

“From multiple, multiple states, but they're using local numbers too…I've had calls from like a Yankton number,” she said.

Jessie Schmidt with the South Dakota BBB says this is called spoofing. When scammers alter the caller ID to make it look like a different number is calling you.

“It may look like the IRS is calling you, it may look like you're calling yourself and that really freaks people out” said Schmidt. “The reality is that there's not a lot more telemarketing going on in South Dakota but there's a lot more scammers out there using that phone spoofing technique.”

Fox said she hopes people can learn from her experience.

“If you don't know the number, don't answer it,” she stated.

There are apps people can download that also help screen unknown numbers. One recommended app is Hiya. These aren't fool-proof so always be aware of who is calling.