4OYS: Locals hit by aggressive scams offer warnings

Posted at: 06/30/2014 10:44 PM
By: Ryan Luby, 4OYS

The phone rings over and over.

It won’t stop.

The person who keeps calling will not accept ‘no’ for an answer.

Sound familiar?

If it does, then you’re just as frustrated as Norrell Bishop in Belen. He’s become the latest target of an aggressive form of the Green Dot MoneyPak scam.

“I had no idea what he was talking about, I had no idea what it was,” Bishop said.

The caller, who went by the name Eric Wilson, said Bishop was approved for a $7,000 loan – tax free.

Even though he had applied for a loan through the Department of Agriculture, he felt uneasy about the call he received.

“I thought he was full of bull,” Bishop said. “I says, ‘Hey, look, I know you're running a scam, and I'm not going to do it, so quit calling me.’”

Bishop said the caller wanted him to go to Walmart, buy a Green Dot MoneyPak card and deposit $200 on it, then call back to provide the card’s number.

In turn, the caller said he’d explain the next step.

In Northwest Albuquerque, Benay Watrin said she nearly fell victim to an e-mail scam that’s seemingly taken on a more aggressive form as well.

“I was just freaking out, I didn't know what I had to do,” she said.

She opened up her work e-mail to find a threatening letter from a person claiming to work for “Cash Net USA.”

The letter said “Cash Net USA” is the parent company of more than 400 cash websites. It said Watrin owed $693 in outstanding debt. If she agreed to pay that amount, the letter said she could avoid a “penalty” of $8,000 in court. The letter listed Watrin’s legal name and her actual social security number.

“It's frightening, especially when they have personal information about you and you have no idea how they got it,” she said.

Indeed, there is a legitimate Cash Net USA, but the e-mail Watrin received was from a bogus e-mail address not tied to the real company.

Several years ago, Watrin said she bought into a phone scam.

In that instance, she thought she owed money to a payday lender.

The caller convinced her to share her debit card information.

Ultimately, scammers withdrew $900 from her account after she first approved of a $300 payment. Her bank later reimbursed her for roughly $600.

Both Watrin and Bishop filed complaints with New Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office.

That office said it’s received a little more than 100 complaints, about all types of scams, since January.