GateHouse Media Southern Illinois Regional Publisher Kevin Haezebroeck today issued a telephone fraud warning to advertisers and subscribers of the SI Trader.
Haezebroeck said several advertisers in the SI Trader have received fraudulent calls saying an ad is about to expire and asking for credit card and other personal information.
In at least one instance, an advertiser authorized a $2 payment and was charged $1,800 on the credit card.
The calls are not being made by the SITrader, Haezebroeck said.
Many of the calls are being made at night and on weekends, times when the SI Trader representatives are not making calls.
The caller tells the advertiser an ad is about to expire and asks for a credit card number or says a card on file would not go through.
The caller often asks for a Social Security number, the bank the advertiser uses and even the maiden name of the mother of the called party.
In most instances Caller ID says "Unknown," "Private" or blocked.
However, in an incident on Thursday, the man asked the called party to check the Caller ID. It indicated a line from the SI Trader, but the call was not made by the publication.
When refused information, the caller uses what many potential victims describe as "horrible language," including death threats and the threat of violent sexual acts.
Many who have reported the fraudulent calls say the caller was a man and he was difficult to understand.
Haezebroeck said the calls greatly concern the SI Trader. He points out:
The SI Trader does not make weekend or night follow-up calls on classified advertising.
There are no male staff members making calls.
SI Trader representatives will not ask for personal information such as banks or your mother's maiden name.
While a legitimate call from the SI Trader may require a credit card number, you will never be asked for the three-digit number on the back of the card.
Always use caution; should you receive a suspicious call, hang up and call the SI Trader and the police.