Cleveland woman warns others after receiving threatening robocalls
One woman in the Tennessee Valley is warning other residents to beware of harassing robocalls from scammers after receiving more than a dozen herself within a few weeks.
"I know that it's a scam, but I think about the people who don't know it's a scam," Siema Swartzel told Channel 3.
Even on the block call list, she says she received more than 14 phone calls in a span of just two weeks.
"I think the first one I just blew off, deleted, blocked the caller but they kept coming," she explained.
But with each call she received, Swartzel says they became more and more aggressive--even threatening.
"They'd say, 'call us now or we're going to start legal proceedings against you'," she described.
Swartzel allowed Channel 3 to listen to one of the voicemails she received. It said this: "If you don't return the call you will have to face the legal consequences," the caller threatened.
Cleveland Police Spokeswoman Evie West says behind the cleverly disguised automated voices are cunning crooks looking for their next victim.
"They're really praying on the vulnerable, which would be the elderly. We go in and do senior scams at the nursing homes and there's a lot of stories," West told Channel 3.
Swartzel says those stories include some of her own family members who've fallen victim.
"They manipulated them emotionally and told them that they needed them to go to Walmart and get gift cards and read them the gift cards over the phone in order to get their grandson out of jail," she said.
That's why she's hoping to try and spread the word about the calls that swindle millions of dollars out of people each year.
West says, by law, you do not have to answer the phone for anyone—that includes police and the IRS. If police are looking for you, they’ll come to your home, and the IRS will almost always send information to you by mail.
West recommends blocking calls as they come or not answering numbers you don’t recognize at all. There's also a 'do not call' list you can join.