Beware of scam offers over the phone

A Hillsboro senior citizen, herself a victim, is warning area residents about a telephone scam that occurred last week.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she was called by a representative of the “Heartland Card Co.” about, ironically, increasing protection against the theft of her Visa credit card.

“I said I don’t give my number on the phone,” the woman said. “They said, ‘Well, this is only for your protection.’ They talked me into it after about a half hour.”

The cost of the additional “coverage” was $299.

Having second thoughts about the transaction, the woman called the Better Business Bureau, which informed her Heartland Card Co. was a fraudulent business that was playing off the name of a legitimate business, Heartland Cardiology PA, based in Wichita.

“I thought it was a familiar number,” the woman said. “How they got my name and address, I don’t know because I don’t have it in the phone book.”

She said the two men who talked to her during the solicitation called themselves James Houde and Steven Brooks. The phone number they gave her, 800-975-7313, did not answer when she called it.

When the woman called VISA, she was told the charge had already come through on her credit card; she canceled the card immediately.

“I hope know one else gets ripped with this,” she said.

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