Search engines may leave residents vulnerable to scams - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

Search engines may leave residents vulnerable to scams

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Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 10:00 am | Updated: 7:45 am, Mon Mar 14, 2011.

Suspicious calls from an unknown roofing company have put Ahwatukee Foothills neighbors on alert and online search engines may be to blame.

"I received a phone call from Texas concerning a roofing inspection," said Sharon Wussow of Ahwatukee. Wussow said the man on the phone asked when her last roof inspection was. She answered that she didn't know and the man began to push to do a free inspection. Because the number was an area code Wussow didn't recognize, she was suspicious.

Eventually, the call ended without any information being exchanged, and Wussow called the police.

"I just had no idea where they could have gotten my number from," said Wussow, who believed she was unlisted. When Phoenix police officers arrived they showed her with a simple Google search how much information could be found. A resident's age, relationship status and how much their home is worth can all be found easily on a website like spokeo.com.

"Normally, after big storms these calls can increase, but it's not always a scam, it's usually just unlicensed companies that can be a little shady," said Matt Giordano of the Phoenix Police Department.

Giordano suggests always doing your homework before hiring a company for any contracting work. He also said that although people can still unlist their numbers through the phone company, it's always hard to hide from the Internet.

"It becomes more difficult as technology increases to become truly unlisted," Giordano said.

Though removing personal information can be difficult it is not impossible for those who have time or money.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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