Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Don't Keep Those Calls and Letters Coming

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Don't Keep Those Calls and Letters Coming

Article excerpt

Patricia Russo of Plum had a double problem - phone calls she didn't want and mail she didn't want.

Mrs. Russo, 82, a retired businesswoman who owned and operated a landscaping, excavating and snow-plowing company with her late husband, thought she had eliminated the first problem by changing her phone number.

"I didn't want to change my number, but I was getting these calls several times a day, every day," she said.

The calls were from crooks trying to convince her that she had "won" one of those phony lotteries. She knew better.

More on that in a minute.

Another round of unwanted phone calls returned last month.

"I don't know how they got my number," she said. The caller, a woman, asked to speak to one of Mrs. Russo's daughters. She correctly provided the daughter's first and last names.

The woman said the call was "personal" and refused to disclose her name.

Mrs. Russo told the caller that her daughter doesn't live with her and hung up.

She has Caller ID on her Comcast phone, now recognizes the number and just lets it ring.

"It's very annoying," she said.

A family member Googled the number. It appeared to be coming from a competing phone company in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"Appeared" is the key word."It could be coming from anywhere," said Comcast spokesman Bob Grove. "We can block that number for her. Tell her to call 1-800-COMCAST and follow the prompts."

That was good news for Mrs. Russo. She didn't want to change her phone number again.

Now about that unwanted mail."I don't know how that got started," she said as we looked through some of the you've-won-big- money mail at her kitchen table.

"There was something in my mailbox every day."

She initially wrote "Return to sender" on it and put it back in her mailbox.

But the mailman didn't want it, either.

"He told me to throw it away," she said.

"I can't believe people fall for that stuff."

Unfortunately, they do, to the tune of millions of dollars a year.One crook sent Mrs. Russo a letter asking her to send a personal check for $2.75 for a "processing fee" to "claim" a "$125,000 Personal Eligibility Report. …

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