A Columbus man nearly loses identity from scam phone call

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- You’ve probably gotten a phishing call from a scammer at some point this week.

Scammers will try their best to get your personal information and possibly steal your identity.

It almost happened to a Columbus businessman.

Oftentimes, folks are tricked into revealing sensitive information, giving scammers a way in.

Columbus PD is working to trace more of these calls in the community.

Hotel owner, Arvind Kumar, receives dozens of calls daily.

But on Wednesday, he got a suspicious call from what appeared to be an official source.

Kumar says the person claimed to be with the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services in Baltimore, Maryland. The caller told Kumar his passport, and social security was deactivated later threatening Kumar with deportation.

“For a second, I was concerned that this could be true,” said Kumar.

WCBI called to confirm the number was, in fact, the immigration office in Baltimore, Maryland.

However, the person who called Kumar is a scammer posing to be with the agency.

Kumar says it seemed real because the scammer had confidential information.

“All the information he asked me where I was from when I entered in the United States 1980, where I was born. He told me where I was in Tampa, Florida. He gave me that address and my address here in Columbus, Mississippi. Like where did he get this info from,” said Kumar.

But here’s where the story gets even more interesting…

After Kumar abruptly ended the conversation—he got another call a few minutes later.

This time, the caller claimed to be Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton.

” The Columbus Police Department is receiving phone calls and complaints from citizens that they’re receiving calls from our department number,” said Corporal Glenn Jenkins.

Jenkins says this isn’t the first time scam Incidents have happened–but investigators are working to put an end to it.

” There are apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone. It uses other phone numbers, including our phone numbers. Sometimes, these apps cannot be traced. That’s why we’re informing the public,” said Jenkins.

In the meantime, if you receive a suspicious call –here’s what you should do.

” Never give your information over the phone. Don’t give your birth information and socials. Contact the police department,” said Jenkins.

Columbus Police continue to investigate the incident.

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