12 OYS: Senior dodges Jamaican scam but ends up with $500 phone bill


News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, April 24, 2014

AIKEN, SC (WRDW) -- She was the target of some con artists who prey on senior citizens, but she is now left with a high phone bill and the possibility of being disconnected from her lifeline.

Fannie Herrin relies a great deal on her landline phone.

"I make a lot of my long distance calls on there to my son in Florida," Herrin said.

Even as often as she calls him, Herrin said she has never had a bill as high as the one she got last month-- about $500.

When we looked at her bill we found calls to and from area code 876. While it may look like a toll-free number, it is actually Kingston, Jamaica.

Herrin said she doesn't know anyone in Jamaica, has never been to Jamaica and probably wouldn't want to go to Jamaica either.

In fact, Herrin said several months back she started getting calls from a man she said had a thick accent.

"He was selling magazines and I said I don't want nothing you are selling," Herrin said.

She said the calls just kept on coming.

"He said 'I'm trying to make a living' and I said 'well you don't have to make a living off of me,'" Herrin said. Tired of being bothered, Herrin said she had her phone number changed.

While many of the calls show they originated in Jamaica, many also show they originated on Herrin's end of the phone. Herrin said on a fixed income she has no idea how she will pay down the bill.

"I'm a senior citizen... it'll be a struggle for me to pay it," Herrin said.

Verizon said it is looking into Herrin's situation to see if it could help her in any way. Meanwhile the Better Business Bureau said if you get a call from someone you don't know, investigate before calling back especially if you do not recognize the area code.


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