EDDY - A wave of lottery phone scams are being reported throughout Central Texas, but a pair of crafty consumers are turning the tables.
Sherry Hardage and Joan Rose, both of Eddy, played along with a phony lottery scammer who called Hardage last week. By leading him on, Rose was able to glean personal information from the alleged con man, and she believes that information is helping police in Georgia track him down.
Phone scamming remains a lucrative business. According to Pindrop Security, a company that specializes in phone fraud, more than 86 million calls a month are scams -- in the United States Alone. In 2014, Americans lost an estimated $8.6 Billion to phone fraud, according to data obtained by NBC News.
Last week, Rose pretended she was getting a money order and told the apparent scammer to supply a name and address to which she told him the money would be sent. The suspected scammer gave the name Iris Adams. When cross-referenced by Channel Six, a man by that name appears to exist with a last known address in Jesup, Georgia. The publicly available address was consistent with the one he provided to Rose.
"There has to be someone with an Iris Adams ID to cash that money order," Rose said.
Channel Six News left a message with police in Jesup Georgia but never heard back. However, Rose spoke with a Bruceville-Eddy Police Officer who told her their department has been in touch with Jesup Police, who believe they know the man whose name was provided to her.
Two landlines listed for Iris Adams' home were disconnected. So, Channel Six called him back at a Jamaican number originally used to attempt to scam Rose and Hardage.
The man who answered put another man who claimed to be Iris on the phone. When Channel Six News Reporter Stephen Adams identified himself as a journalist, "Iris" claimed he would report him to the police in Jamaican for harassment and told him to "be careful."
Channel Six contacted the Better Business Bureau, which did not recommend trying to trick phone scammers into supplying information.
"Our recommendation is to just hang up or not answer the phone," said Adam Price, Regional Director of the BBB in Waco. "We have to retrain ourselves not to answer the phone."
Rose showed Channel Six call logs that suggested "Iris" had called her seven times in a single afternoon. She hopes her day of detective work takes one scammer of the street.
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