Voicemail systems the latest target for con artist calls

Experts warn you could think you’re dealing with a legitimate business when instead you’re chatting with a scammer
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 3:47 PM CDT
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InvestigateTV - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning of a new rise in scams using an old technology: voicemail.

Josh Planos with the BBB said his organization has seen a noticeable increase in the last six months of imposter scams using voicemail systems.

According to Planos, fraudsters will hack into a business voicemail system and retrieve messages left for the legitimate business. They then text victims back, posing as the company.

One known victim put down two deposits requested via text for a proposed project but became suspicious when asked to send 50% of the total job upfront.

Upon further scrutiny she realized the text number was different from the business number. After contacting the original business, she learned they had never received her original message. Her deposits were gone.

“What’s so staggering about these scams is that it really just preys on the small business owner, a lot of the time,” Planos said. “They basically cut the company out entirely.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued alerts on voicemail scams in the past and has advice for businesses using a voicemail system:

  • Always change default passwords for all voicemail boxes
  • Use a complex password that is not easy to guess
  • Check your recorded announcements regularly to make sure they have not been changed

The BBB shared two tips for customers:

  • Double check contacts for business numbers
  • Always be on alert when asked to send money via payment apps

To report a scam, visit the BBB scamtracker.