Phone scams continue to plague Alaskans
Dean Cannon expected a phone call on May 7, but not the one he received that afternoon.
"'Hi I'm Costa,' that was the name he used," Cannon said.
According to Cannon, Costa then said he worked for Keller Williams Realty and that the company was providing free home evaluations.
Cannon says something about the call seemed suspicious since Costa did not provide his last name or phone extension and refused Cannon's offer to visit him at the company's office.
"He said we're in Phoenix, Arizona," said Cannon. "I said, 'well, you're calling from Phoenix, Arizona but you have 907 area number?' Click, went down the phone."
A supervisor from Keller Williams said it does not have an employee named Costa and has not received any other similar complaints.
Cannon avoided becoming a victim of what is known as caller ID spoofing. The Federal Trade Commission said that happens when the scammer sends a fake number to your caller ID to hide their true identity.
The FTC said scams last year cost Alaskans $3.6 million. Spoofing is one form of an impostor scam, which the FTC said made up the most common type of scam in Alaska in 2018. Of the reported 3,531 cases, 20% involved someone who pretended to be someone else.
"What we're finding right now is more than 50% of phone calls, probably 80–90% of phone calls are scams," said Cindy Franklin, the assistant attorney general for Alaska.
Franklin also warned residents not to believe phone calls from someone who claims to be from a government agency such as the IRS, which would contact people first by mail.
Franklin offered a simple piece of advice if you get an unsolicited phone call.
"Hang up, hang up," she said. "Don't talk to them, don't give them the information."
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