The BBB and The MSR Group are warning area consumers that a scam promoting security alarm systems has spoofed The MSR Group’s telephone number.
To schedule an interview with BBB or The MSR Group, Contact BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty at 402.968.7030 or The MSR Group Marketing & Public Relations Manager, Tracy Keith, at 402.392.0755, ext. 110
Omaha, NE, September 18, 2012 – A scam promoting security alarm systems has spoofed The MSR Group’s telephone number.
Consumers throughout Nebraska are contacting the BBB and The MSR Group regarding calls from what they believe is a home security company that promises them a free security alarm system in exchange for placing a sign in their yards. The scammers are spoofing consumers’ caller ID to make it appear that the calls are coming from The MSR Group.
Caller ID spoofing is a service that allows a caller to masquerade as someone else by falsifying the number that appears on the recipient’s caller ID display. Just as e-mail spoofing can make it appear that a message came from any e-mail address the sender chooses, caller ID spoofing can make a call appear to come from any phone number the caller wishes.
This is a common tactic used by scammers to create the illusion of legitimacy regarding their offer. These calls are not affiliated with the marketing research firm in any way. Because federal laws Prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, a formal complaint regarding the hijacking of The MSR Group phone number has been filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
While The MSR Group does contact consumers, legitimate callers from The MSR Group will identify themselves appropriately as a marketing research company. The calls made by MSR are for the purpose of collecting information and opinions about products, services or public policy, not to sell or offer promotions.
BBB President, Jim Hegarty, states that “the Bureau has been receiving reports since the beginning of the year of similar calls that have hijacked the names and numbers of other legitimate firms from across the U.S. The BBB believes that these calls are designed to gather sensitive information, such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers or other personal information that will allow the scammers to transfer funds from consumer’s accounts or make unauthorized charges with their credit cards. The Bureau also suspects that scammers may be selling the information gathered during these phone calls and may also be using the information to conduct ID Theft.” Hegarty suggests that consumers follow some simple tips from the FCC:
Don’t give out personal information in response to an incoming call. Identity thieves are clever – they often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, creditors, or even government agencies to get people to reveal their account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords and other identifying information.
If you get an inquiry from a company or government agency seeking personal information, don’t provide it. Instead, hang up and call the phone number that you have independently verified in phone book or on the internet , or on the company’s or government agency’s website to find out if the entity that supposedly called you actually is who they say they are.
The MSR Group is a nationally recognized full-service marketing research company. It has been rated one of the world’s top focus group facilities by an international survey of focus group moderators. In addition to providing unprecedented qualitative research, The MSR Group offers a wide range of quantitative methodologies, including the award winning APECS® Performance Monitor, a proven system to measure customer satisfaction and advocacy. For more information, visit www.theMSRgroup.com.
Better Business Bureau, Inc. (BBB) has been serving U.S consumers and businesses for 100 years and is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting trust in the marketplace. Accountability, education and recognition of marketplace role models are key components to the BBB’s mission. Today, the BBB has a membership of approximately 8,000 companies in Nebraska, South Dakota and southwest Iowa. Consumers are encouraged to report complaints and possible scams to the BBB. As a matter of policy, the BBB does not endorse any product, service or company. For more information, please visit bbb.org and “Start With Trust.”