Wisconsin residents are being warned about a new phone scam that tells them they've been named in a civil court case. They are able to get out of receiving a summons by paying money to the people behind the calls.
"My hands were shaking when I first got that phone call," said Marilyn Bower, a retired teacher in Cottage Grove. She has received nine calls in the last two weeks alone. "I was scared. I shouldn't have been. We pay our bills. We don't have any issues."
The automated voice on the call told her that "service of process is scheduled to be served at your home or place of employment. Prior to (the) visit, the civil claim requires a statement as you've been deemed or named in this complaint." People are told they can call 877-771-6863 if they have questions. Marilyn did not call back, but instead called her local police department.
"It probably saved her thousands of dollars by just making that phone call to us," said Cottage Grove Police Chief Chris Hughes, who wished more people would employ Bower's caution. "Give yourself some breathing room. The (callers) like to do high-pressure sales is the best way to put it and they want to get you cornered as quickly as possible. What you have to understand is you don't have to fall for that. Take the time."
Numerous complaints about calls related to this number can be found online. Consumers who have called it back reported being asked for money to dispose of the "summons" they were set to receive.
"I'd like to know where they got my name and why they keep calling me," said Bower, who plans to buy Caller ID so she can screen her phone calls in the future. "Now, I'm just kind of angry they're invading my home."
She plans to file a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as her phone number is on the state's No-Call List.
If you have received similar phone calls, you can file a complaint with the state.