Telemarketers 'Hijack' Phone Numbers In New Scam

Posted at 12:59 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 20:50:52-04

Over the course of a few hours on Monday, tow truck driver Cameron Wilson received 600 phone calls on his business cell phone, but none of them were from people needing a tow.

Instead, Wilson quickly realized he and his business M&W Towing had fallen victim to a new kind of scam: phone hijacking.

"They were coming in so fast we couldn't answer," Wilson said.

After taking his phone to his cell phone provider, Wilson quickly realized that the problem was even worse than he thought.

A telemarketer had stolen his phone number and was using it to call people from as far away as Hawaii.

Those people, unsure of who was calling, would then call Wilson back on the number he uses to run his tow company. His cell phone company told him the only thing he could do was change his number.

"That's not an option for us. Our phone is our lifeline. If you don't have a phone, we aren't in business. We've carried this number for years. All of our customers have it. It's on all our trucks, all our business cards. We can't just change it," he added.

Wilson isn't sure if he's lost any business from the hijacking scam. At one point on Monday he had to stop answering the phone, potentially missing calls from people needing a tow. The small business owner has even tried to file a complaint with the FCC, but he was told they couldn't do anything.

"People are going to have to start standing up and complaining. The telemarketers can't just have free reign," he said.