On Your Side Alert: Fake Verizon Tech Support Calls

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Verizon customers be on alert. Crooks are targeting you with a new scam.  Criminals are calling and they are able to manipulate your Caller ID to show a real Tech Support phone number.

In the most recent case, when you pickup, you'll get an automated message claiming you've won 54 dollars. The message will direct you to a website, www.verizon54.com. Some victims say they were asked for a Verizon username, password,  even credit card information. That site has been shutdown -- but remember, criminals can always create different sites.

We contacted Verizon about this problem. It released this statement: "Verizon Wireless considers any harassment of customers a serious matter. We offer tools that empower customers to protect their privacy, including the ability to block up to 20 incoming phone numbers, and we work with law enforcement agencies regularly to help identify and prosecute scammers.. We have also supported customers, including the opportunity to set up phone number blocks and change mobile phone numbers, as necessary.  If customers encounter such issues,  we encourage them to contact local law enforcement, the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission as well as their wireless carrier. We also offer these tips to help them protect their privacy:

1. Don't answer or return calls from unknown or unfamiliar numbers, especially with area codes you don't recognize.

2. Use voice-mail to filter calls and return those that need to be returned.

3. Keep an eye on your bill each month, and contact your carrier with any questions.

The company also has a web-page dedicated to protecting customers from scams. It highlights some the common schemes and provides some helpful advice. Remember, before you reply to any offer, you should always contact the company directly, even if it means hanging up and calling back to a number you know is legitimate. If you run across something suspicious, you can call Verizon or send an email to abuse@verizon.com.

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