Memphis woman harassed by repeated robocalls - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphis woman harassed by repeated robocalls

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

We've all heard about those nasty phone messages so called credit card companies can leave.

Nancy Brockhagen, 73, of Memphis says she received a call that takes nasty to a whole new level.

"I can't believe he was stupid enough to leave that message on my answering machine," said Brockhagen, who no dummy.

On Jan. 8 she received not one, not two, but five robocalls calls.

"And you better get some education because you're stupid and uneducated," one robocall message that was left on her voicemail.

It starts as an automated call from the so called "Card Holder Services." You're offered a lower interest rate, prompted to press a number for more information and then you are connected to a live person.

The call may appear to be from the United States, but it's really not.

"The first one was from Atlanta," Brockhagen recalled. "That's where I spoke with the man,"

She says he identified himself as Paul Anderson with Card Holder Services and offered to lower the interest rate on her credit card.  

The problem is, Ms. Brockhagen doesn't own a credit card.

"He said, 'I need to be sure that I'm speaking with the person who has the credit card,' and I said, 'Well I need to be sure I'm speaking with the person who's going to reduce my interest rate," Brockhagen said.

Anderson claimed her interest rate was 29 percent and he promised he could reduce it to less than 6.

"He wanted the credit card number again. I wouldn't give it to him,"  Brockhagen said. "I said, 'if you would sir, you'll have to excuse me, and I hung up on him."

Anderson wasn't done talking.

Ms.Brockhagen says she walked in another room.

"I came back and there was a message on my answering machine."

"Okay, ma'am your credit card has been charged $10,000," Anderson said. "Because you hung up on an officer and that's a crime by the Better Business Bureau. Your card is canceled, and you have been charged $10,000 with a rate of 29 percent, okay? Enjoy the high rates and enjoy the $10,000. Thank you."

"I thought, well how ridiculous?," Brockhagen said. "And right after I listened to it, he called again and it was he calling back. 'Why did you hang up on me?' I said, 'Well, a lady doesn't usually tell a gentleman this, but I was in the bathroom.'"

Ms. Brockhagen told Anderson he was no gentleman. You never ask a lady how old she is.

"He said, 'How old are you?' I said, '73'," she said. "He said, 'You look like you're 40.' He said, 'Since you're an old woman, I'll make a deal with you. I won't charge you $10,000. I'll charge you $5,000.'"

Randy Hutchinson, President of the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South - who Ms. Brockhagen called - says you should call the BBB too if this happens to you.

"One of the things about these calls, they'll sometimes say, 'We're working with your credit card company' or a new government program," Hutchinson said.

If you involve the BBB of the Mid-South, they can help keep track of the problem, report it, and put you in touch with the right person to investigate.

"It's just so very, very annoying," Ms. Brockhagen said. "Hopefully it's over."

So why can't these robocalls be traced? FOX13 News spoke with an attorney from the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC sometimes track down the source of the robocalls and arrests are made.

But because of advanced software, the caller is able to choose the caller ID they want. They could even pick yours. The calls go into the public switch  network that connects calls all around the country. With so many calls and so many numbers, it's impossible to keep track of all the bad guys out there.

Some of these robo callers are so out of control, the Federal Trade Commission is going out a limb and offering $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a solution or help catch the Paul Andersons of the world. It's called the FTC Robocall Challenge.

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