Phone scam continues

Published 6:19 pm Sunday, August 10, 2014

A second R-C area resident has contacted the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald in regards to an alleged telephone scam.

In Thursday’s edition, we reported a Hertford County woman had been contacted by telephone, saying she was approved for an $8,400 government grant she had not applied for.

On Friday morning, a Northampton County woman called the News-Herald reporting basically an identical scam.

“Actually, I’ve been contacted on my cell phone on five occasions since July 17,” she reported. “During each call I was informed that I had been approved to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department and given phone numbers to call to proceed with the process.”

After reading about the other victim in the News-Herald’s Aug. 7 edition, the Northampton woman called the IRS to report the scam.

“I was encouraged to let the residents here locally be aware of this type of scam,” she said. “It’s wise not to give out any type of personal or financial information to anyone, especially to people who are making these unsolicited phone calls. Do not give them that information.”

Those receiving such a call are urged to contact the Complaint Management Division of the IRS at, toll-free, 1-800-366-4484.

Like the HertfordCounty victim, the original contact is from a Washington, DC number (202-666-4691). An online check of that number revealed a blog containing complaints from several individuals. Among them was one saying they were approved for a $7,000 grant; another claimed the caller told them they would be arrested for tax fraud; while another victim said they were told the IRS had filed criminal action against them for income tax evasion.

The second number (follow-up call made by the Hertford County victim) is 202-470-3920. (Note: in Thursday’s edition, that number was reported as 202-470-3940. That was a typographical error. The 3940 number is listed to a reputable firm – Educational Travel Adventures, a New Jersey based business with an office in D.C.)

An online check of the second phone number (202-470-3920) also contained messages from individuals alleging to be fraud victims.

At first, the Hertford County victim was told the grant came with no strings attached. However, after calling the number given (202-470-3920), she was informed there was a $270 processing fee in order to receive the grant. She was told that fee could be drafted from her checking account.

What really troubled the Hertford County woman was that the person on the other end of the line had knowledge of her bank’s name and account’s routing number.

“That shocked me, so much to the point that I immediately called my bank and closed the account,” she said. “I want to get the word out to the people here in Hertford County and other local areas, especially the elderly, that this type of scam was going on.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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