Facing a barrage of scam phone calls, a town of Watertown resident is advising others to be careful about solicitations received over the phone.
I just want someone who thinks theyre going to get money ... theres nothing there, said Charleen A. Shepard.
Mrs. Shepard said she realized she had a problem in June when she and her husband, Earl R., started getting dozens of calls asking for their personal and banking information to redeem a prize in an international lottery. Other calls from similar sources asked her to send her information and money to an address in Jamaica.
Logging the incoming numbers using her caller identification system, Mrs. Shepard found the calls came from area codes across the country, including Grand Rapids, Mich., Orlando, Fla., and Washington, D.C. Scam callers also used unlabeled private phone numbers.
In the period from June 28 to July 18, Mrs. Shepard counted 33 phone calls soliciting her personal information. It was unreal, she aid.
The early morning calls were especially troublesome for Mrs. Shepard, who was working overnight several days a week.
Refusing to give up her personal information, she said, she was harassed by the endless callers, whose claims of prize money kept growing.
Its like youre talking to a wall when youre saying, Were not giving you any money, Mrs. Shepard said.
With one particularly harassing caller, Mrs. Shepard said, she put the phone down on the table and loudly clanged a metal spoon against a nearby pan until the caller hung up.
He wouldnt listen to anything else, she said.
Frustrated by the volume of calls she received, Mrs. Shepard attempted to seek help from state police, who told her that there was nothing that could be done, as there had not been a loss of personal funds or information such as a Social Security number.
She also contacted the state attorney generals office, which told her that many people had received similar calls, and that she should just tell them no.
A spokeswoman from the attorney generals office said in an email that determining the source of scam phone calls can be difficult, and efforts focus more on educating people on what to look for before they are scammed.
The spokeswoman also said the office had launched several campaigns to help seniors avoid being scammed.
Mrs. Shepard said that while the number of calls to her home has dipped in the past week, she worries about other recipients of similar calls.
These are scams, she said.
Those concerned they may have been a victim of scam callers can contact the attorney generals consumer hot line at 1 (800) 771-7755.