Telephone Scam

Curtis Bonner says a few weeks ago, he received several phone calls from someone claiming to be collecting donations for a charity. Bonner is almost certain it was a scam. Something that doesn't sit too well with him.

"I don't have a whole lot of money and I don't like the idea of somebody wanting it for nothing," Bonner said.

Experts say one way scammers pick their victims is by looking in the phone book for names they think might belong to older people, but elderly people aren't the only ones capable of being scammed.

"These people will target anyone. Any age, any race, any ethnicity or income level. They just want the money," said Lt. David Young of the Lufkin Police Department.

Scammers often try to solicit victims by pretending to represent popular charitable organizations like Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Some East Texans even tell us they've received calls from someone claiming to be a Department of Public Safety trooper.

"Troopers do not call people up asking for donations for money. It's against the law," Texas DPS Senior Trooper Greg Sanches told us.

Experts tell us there are several ways you can avoid being victimized by these phone scams.

"If you get the phone call, you don't know who you're talking to really. Be specific about what the charity is. Ask for something to be mailed to you. Buy yourself some time. You look at it. Look at the information and then make a decision at your leisure instead of being pressured into it on the telephone," said Lt. Young.

"If you're talking to someone on the phone and you start questioning the person, a lot of times that person will hang up," Sanches added.

As for Bonner, he has some advice of his own:

"If you tell them no, they hang up pretty quick."