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Caller plays on emotions, threatens phone scam victims

By Adam Schrager, aschrager@wisctv.com
Published On: Jan 07 2014 06:39:39 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 07 2014 07:26:53 PM CST

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. -

Delores Kolosovsky spent 40 years working for the State of Wisconsin, a large part of it as an investigator with the weatherization program. However, she found herself on the other end of a scam right around Christmas and her reaction surprised her.

"They caught me off guard," she said in response to the phone call stating she owed $2,460 in fees and fines to the federal government. "I don't owe anything."

What came next in the phone call though is what really shook her.

"He said there was a warrant out for my arrest," she said. "The police would be there within an hour to arrest me and put me in jail without bail. He kept emphasizing the without bail part."

Sun Prairie Crime Prevention Officer Ben Pluim said these types of phone scams are getting "more elaborate" and that consumers need to become as sophisticated and resourceful as the criminals. He conducts seminars around the city educating residents and businesses on how they can prevent falling victim to the scammers.

"These people practice their skills," he said. "They can be very convincing, sound legitimate. You just have to remember you don't ever want to provide personal information over the telephone."

Kolosovsky considers herself lucky that she did not give away bank account information. Her husband arrived back home in time and she had numerous neighbors in her condo association just wrapping up happy hour who helped her get past the emotion of the moment.

"Everybody said, 'They can't put you in jail for that,'" Kolosovsky said. "Well, my mind was not thinking."

She contacted News 3’s Call For Action volunteers to make sure no one else experiences what she went through.

"They threaten you very strongly," she said. "If you get a nerve-wracking phone call that doesn't make sense, hang up. Just hang up."

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