The Roundup -

Cell Phone Scam Targeting Local Residents


August 15, 2018 | View PDF

Some local residents have received cell phones they didn't order.

A new scam has hit unsuspecting Sidney area residents. According to Jo Ellen Bartels FedEx delivered a brand new iPhone to her home address. Jo Ellen's husband was home and accepted and signed for the package thinking she had ordered it. She had not. When she got home and they opened the package it was a new iPhone X with a bill for $999.99 and a warning that if they didn't want the phone they needed to return it within 14 days or they will be liable for a restocking fee of $35. The return address was to Verizon Wireless so the Bartels brought it to Cellular Plus at 323 S. Central in Sidney, Montana. Jo Ellen said they were told that it had happened three other times in the past two weeks and that they would send the package to Verizon's Fraud Department. They did so and the Bartels were not held liable for any of the bill but with this happening so often Jo Ellen and her husband wanted to spread the word with others in the community.

I spoke with Richland County Undersheriff, Bob Burnison. He told me that Verizon Wireless is working with them on this and that it has been reported to have happened in Billings, as well. He said, as far as he knows, no one has lost any money to this scam and there have been no reports that identities have been stolen. If it looks like identities have been stolen, he said, the appropriate agencies will investigate. Undersheriff, Bob Burnison advises that if anyone is delivered a Verizon Wireless phone they did not order that they should contact local law enforcement and make a report. Then they should take the phone and report to the nearest Verizon Wireless dealer. According to Bob, the employees there will assist them with returning the phone so they will not be charged. "We are working with Verizon on this," said Bob Burnison, "to bring an end to it."


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