Identity Theft Redux

Last week I reported an attempted scam to get me to send money. The scammer even asked me to call his phone number to prove he was R*** K***. I tried to tell him he had the wrong person, that I have not got the money he wanted, which was expressed as $450 this time, last week it was $350. You might review last week’s information to understand the first post in this series. 

Again the phone number calling was “private number”, which sadly I have a friend who calls me and is always listed as private number. So I’ve been tuned in to taking those phone calls when they happen. Obviously it has to stop now, and my friend is going to have to text message me prior to calling so I know it is them rather than this scammer or another. This scamming needs to also be known as stalking as it is changing how I’m handling my life.

This week I decided to ask him if there was another name of a person at the phone number given.  He didn’t hear me clearly or chose to disregard the question. I posed the question about why a gmail address was used, again there was no response.

As I questioned him the exchange and exasperation increased. His voice grew louder and he continued to express how he was working in an official capacity from the US Marshal Service.

After 7 minutes on the phone (10:37-10:44) I told him I would call his number immediately after we hung up. I did that, and got voicemail with an introduction from R*** K***. The voice however wasn’t thickly accented as the scammer calling me, who sounded like he was from West Africa. The voicemail greeting sounds like a person from North Dakota.

Reporting Identity Theft

My first call was to the US Marshal Service in North Dakota (701-297-7300). I chose to speak through the swtchboard with an investigator. They told me it was best to contact the Consumer Affairs Office (701-297-7400), who in turn told me to call 800-742-2600 which was a vacation getaway offer hotline. 800-472-2600 Consumer Protection was the right number to call (either I wrote it wrong or was given it wrong). Perhaps the vacation line chose their number with some forethought(?)

I also called the Michigan Identity Theft hotline at 734-525-4166 (@10:52) and left a message, awaiting a return call.

Calling Consumer Protection at 800-472-2600 is simply a ringing phone that eventually hung up after a minute unanswered.

Chosing another route… calling the Michigan Attorney General’s Consumer Protection number 517-373-1140. Definitely press 2 to be tranferred to a person or you’ll be in a seemingly endless stream of numbers to call for various reasons.

I remember back in the day as businesses were moving to interactive phone response systems requiring people to push a button to be transferred – having a rotary dial phone at that time meant there was no access beyond waiting things out an hoping an operator/receptionist was available. Honestly call responses lines NEED HUMAN STAFFING! It may not be a desirable job for a human, taking in the anger and frustration of those calling… however many people want a PERSON to talk with not a machine or your voicemail.

Michigan Consumer Protection

I went through discussing how the caller was using a private number (they can’t help with that). Also asked if identity of person in North Dakota can be protected and since that person themselves isn’t asking for protection , it won’t be offered. Sadly I find this too predictable. I’m sending the emails recieved to see if those help at all, but I doubt it since the sender is using a  gmail account. Perhaps an IP trace can lead back when looking at full header information.

What Can Be Done?

Through the Identity Theft Network there is a fairly detailed breakdown of what forms of identity theft exist and how the State of Michigan deals with these.