Outsmarting those out to get your hard earned money - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Outsmarting those out to get your hard earned money

(KFVS) -

It seems there are more people than ever out looking for ways to get their hands on your hard earned money.

Of course, not every offer out there is legit. We met three people from the Heartland who outsmarted the people trying to rip them off.

Last weekend Jimmy Castile of Marble Hill says he got a frightening call on his cell phone.

"It was horrifying, I'm still in shock over it," said Castile. "They told me my brother was in an accident, I had to come up with $800 or they were going to take his life."

He believed the caller. The person seemed to know about a lot his brother.

"They proceeded to tell me if I hung up the phone or called anyone or spoke to anyone they would shoot him in the head," Castile said. "It had me on the phone for 25 minutes of terror."

Luckily, Castile got to another phone and called his brother who overheard the conversation.

Billy Castile then called his brother Jimmy, who quickly answered.

"I told him I' was fine," said Billy Castile.

It was relief that soon turned to anger. The brothers repeatedly called the number back.

"I got a hold of them the next morning, said I was one of the very few who slipped through his grasp," said Jimmy Castile.

"I couldn't believe it, he gave me the number looked it up on the Internet and said it had harassments from people doing that from this number," said Billy Castile.

The number is (779) 548-1198. When called recently, there was a recording that said, "The caller from this number is a scammer. Call police and report it, they don't have your son or daughter."

The Marble Hill Police Department is now reportedly looking into what happened to Jimmy Castile.

We also know of a similar incident that happened in Butler County.

When it comes to online scams, there are several.

Stephanie Riley-Dabbs of Scott City wanted to sell her wedding dress.

Her asking price was $100.

"I went to facebook.com, they have a marketplace," said Riley-Dabbs. "Couple of weeks later, I got an e-mail that a woman was interested in buying it. She sent me a check through FEDEX for $2,000."

She was instantly drawn to the attractive offer.

"I'm going, $2,000 that would be wonderful!" said Riley-Dabbs.

However, she knew better.

"It was too good to be true," Riley-Dabbs said.

She says she took the check to an area bank.

"They ran it through the system, it alerted fraud as soon as they put it in there," said Riley-Dabbs.

You also have to watch out for potential scams that come through the mail.

Christi Gonzalez of Oran says she just got a letter in her mailbox, but it was postmarked in October. It came from Canada.

"I was like oh my goodness, an $1,100 check," Gonzalez said.

Inside was a letter saying she was a secret shopper. An instant red flag for her was that she had to wire money through Western Union.

"I was supposed to evaluate it (Western Union) and send money," Gonzalez said.

There are several numbers listed on the letter.

"I called the numbers, and they didn't work," she said.

She then took the check to the bank.

"The routing number is valid; account is off by one number," she said.

Gonzalez trusted her instincts.

If she had cashed that check, she would have to pay back the money, plus likely additional fees.

"People like me living paycheck to paycheck can't afford that," said Gonzalez.

So take it from those three, who say don't take the chance.

"Try to be smart about it, don't be greedy," said Riley-Dabbs.

In addition, beware of fake threatening calls.

"It makes you think about what kind of people are out there," said Billy Castile.

The Missouri Attorney General's Office has some advice when it comes to phone scams.

  • Never give financial or personal information like your Social Security number over the phone.
  • Be suspicious.  If someone calls, purporting to be your bank, hang up and call your bank to see if they called you.  Take the same actions with other entities you do business with.
  • If you decide you want to contribute to a charity or make a purchase following a phone solicitation, ask for the address and write the charity or business a check; that is much safer than giving out your credit card number.
  • If you are unsure if an offer is legitimate, contact the Attorney General's Office at 800-392-8222 for guidance.

Also according to the Attorney General's Office, identity theft may be the fastest-growing crime in the world today. Being a victim of identity theft can be emotionally and financially devastating. 

Three ways of stealing identity is easy to prevent:

  • Dumpsters: Shred mail, old credit card statements, canceled checks, etc., before you throw them into your trash.  Con men will actually go through dumpsters to find identifying information they can use to steal identities.
  • Mailbox: Putting a flag up on a mail box is a red flag to con men that there might be important mail like credit card payments waiting to go out.
  • Telephone: Never give important information like your Social Security number, credit card number, or bank account information over the phone.


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