Beware, Phone Scam In Omaha

Scam artists thousands of miles away are pretending to be right here in our back yard. They're targeting senior citizens.

An automated call put Hal Capps on alert. He remembers what the scam said.

"They say we got this system that's free and we want to deliver it," said Capps.

It's a medical alert offer that Hal worried would give him a financial emergency.

"I called the Better Business Bureau and they said they were after credit card numbers," said Capps.

Many retirees are alert to answering scam calls.

The scam artists are likely calling from another state or country, but what fools a lot of senior citizens is when it shows up on their caller ID as area code 402.

Postal Inspector Dave Margritz has found websites that allow a phone number to be disguised as another for just a dime a minute.

"You could say hey I really want to talk to you. Let me write down this number and I'll call you back. But they won't want that because its not a real number it just shows up," said Margritz.

Kathryn Russell said the 402 on her caller ID got her to pick up the phone.

"I thought it was somebody I knew," said Russell.

Instead a caller wanted to get to know her credit card number.

"I was afraid maybe I would be signing up for something that I didn't want to pay for," said Russell.

Retirees like Capps said a call for a free medical alert system will end up costing a lot and the sellers are not in the area despite what the number leads you to believe.

"I was born at night, but not last night," chuckles Capps. He wasn't fooled, but that doesn't mean others won't be.

The industry is represented by medical alert trade association. They said they are working aggressively to identify who is behind the scam calls. One company's spokesman said they're "closing in" on a source.

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