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Yes ma'am, sounds like a scam

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columns Dickinson, 58602
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

While afar on a Thanksgiving holiday, a call came in from 459-121-8344. There is rarely reason to answer the phone during a fine meal and conversation with family -- and I didn't.

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However, the call came in again, and again, and again, and again, and again and... you get the point.

Something was fishy and in hopes the caller would go away I did not answer. However, in a fed-up-state of mind after at least a dozen calls between Thursday and Wednesday I answered the call and it was the Waka Network. Wow! I won! Me, I won! I wasted all that time not answering, when I could have been collecting my prize.

A quick Google of Waka Network brought up hundreds of posts regarding the now infamous "Sylvia Davis," who appears to have called thousands of people throughout the country. They all received the same good news about their recent fortune of coming into cash because of an online survey they participated in. (Though most who have web posts regarding the scam never took a survey).

Ms. Davis sounded like a robot and I think that's what "she" is. I asked many questions but her responses included 5-second delays and she continued to "talk" over me.

I called the number Ms. Davis finally gave me (877-332-1490) after I asked if she was Waka's owner, asked to speak with her manager, asked to be removed from the call list, told her I was investigating phone scams and a multitude of other questions, including "are you a freak?" to which she responded something like, "yes we are your online solution."

Try to call 459-121-8344 and an automated operator tells you the number "has been disconnected or no longer in service."

During my senseless attempts to get to the bottom of this idiocy, I somehow got the customer service number and at 11:52 a.m. Wednesday I placed a call to regain my freedom from Waka; to tell it or them or whatever this network is, to stop calling me. After a few rings, a machine said my hold time was 1 minute and 100 seconds. Here is what followed -- I was:

- Caller 10 with 15 seconds hold time at 11:55.

- Caller seven with 15 seconds hold time at 11:56.

- Caller six with 15 seconds hold time at 11:57.

- Caller six with 15 seconds hold time at 11:58.

- Caller six with 15 seconds hold time at noon.

- Caller four with 15 second holds time at 12:01.

- "You are currently the only person in this conference" at 12:02 p.m. and "click," the phone goes dead.

Unfortunately, many who posted about Davis were sucked into the scam. They gave out credit card numbers and other personal information.

It seems those who fall victims to scams don't report them because they may be embarrassed that they were taken advantage of, Dickinson Police Department Capt. Joe Cianni said. The department encourages them to report the incidents so police may make others aware of the scams.

Another scam resurfacing is someone from Nigeria supposedly trying to get cash that's tied up in courts and needs the email-reader's credit card information.

The newest round of email scam claims to be legit, mentioning the FBI and U.S. Treasury and begins, "This email is to notify you about the release of your outstanding payment which is truly $15.500.000.00 USD."

Here is my reminder to all -- if it feels fishy, it probably is.

I will be spending more time on the phone as I work with my cell provider to block this number (a quick call leads me through a maze of phone options I don't feel like dealing with right now).

Though I'm tired of wasting time on the phone, if there is an easier way -- if anyone has a suggestion to make Waka stop calling me at all hours, I'm all ears.

If you are indeed legit, feel free to email McBride, The Dickinson Press editor, at jmcbride@thedickinsonpress.com or call 701-456-1205.

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