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A few years ago I used to get phone calls that looked very similar to my phone number... same area code and even the same prefix.  But if I answered, it was a recording trying to sell something.  It was extremely frustrating.  Then I would get calls from someone telling me, "I just got a call from this number"  when I didn't call anyone.  What was happening was, when you answer that call from a number that looks like yours, they were checking to see if your number is a working number.  Then they would 'spoof' your number, and use it to scam other people.

Another recent scam is a telemarketer will get you on the phone, and right up front will ask you, "Can you hear me?"  Their goal is to get you to say the word "YES."  They are recording the call, and then they will place your "YES" response in a recording that they can say you agreed to purchase whatever scam they are hustling.  DO NOT say the word "YES."

If someone asks "Can you hear me?"  First of all, HANG UP.  But if you persist, don't ever say the word "YES."  You can say, "I can hear you."  Then they will ask again, trying to get the word "YES" from you.  If they don't get that, chances are they will hang up.

Phone scams have been around for a long time.  Since we pretty much don't have land-lines anymore and just use our cell phones, I simply don't answer any number I don't either know, or already have in my phone.  If someone I know is calling, they can leave a message and I can call them back.  Because now, scammers have figured even that out, and don't even need you to answer your phone.

Beware of the "One Ring" Scam

The "One Ring" scam has been around for a while. The scammer's goal is to have you call them back. Here's how this one works. Your phone will ring and then just hang up. If you call back the number that you see called, they get you. You find out later that you have unwanted charges on your phone bill. You can actually wind up getting charged a fee just for connecting. Along with huge per minute fees for as long as they can keep you on the line.

According to the FCC, One Ring calls may appear to be from phone numbers somewhere in the US, including three initial digits that resemble US area codes. 

“Savvy scammers often use international numbers from regions that also begin with three-digit codes – for example, "232" goes to Sierra Leone, and "809" goes to the Dominican Republic.”

Domestic Area Codes With Ties to One Ring Scam 

  • 216: Cleveland Ohio 
  • 469: Dallas, Texas 
  • 657: La Palma, California 
  • 332: New York City 
  • 347: New York City 
  • 646: New York City 
  • 218: Northern Minnesota 
  • 712: Western Iowa 

 International Area Codes With Ties to One Ring Scam 

  • 232: Sierra Leone 
  • 268: Antigua and Barbuda 
  • 284: British Virgin Islands 
  • 473: Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique 
  • 649: Turks and Caicos Islands 
  • 664: Montserrat 
  • 767: Commonwealth of Dominica 
  • 809, 829, 849: Dominican Republic 
  • 876: Jamaica 

Of course, the best way to combat these scammers is to simply not answer your phone at all if you don't know the number.  If it's someone you know, or if it's important, they will leave a message, or send a text.

Personalized License Plates That Aren't Legal in Louisiana

Personalized license plates are legal in Louisiana. They might cost a little more to have on your car, and there are rules, but you can get one if you really want. But you should check the rules on what is allowed before you set your heart on one. Here's a list of examples you CAN'T have in Louisiana.

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