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Possible lawsuit scam fishes for local birth-control users

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: Nov 18 2012 05:43:49 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 18 2012 07:24:36 PM CST

Caleb James reports.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

You may have heard those radio ads about class-action lawsuits against drug manufacturers.  

An announcer usually urges folks who have used certain pharmacuetical drugs to call a 1-800 number if they've experienced certain side-effects associated with medications. 

On Sunday, our station began looking into a possible scam that plays off the concept of those type of ads. 

The sound of a ringing phone makes Idaho Falls mom Kara Kearsley run for cover these days.

"After the 25th phone call, you're kind of not patient anymore," said Kearsley. 

The mom of 3 said she's had dozens of phone calls from a man who sounds like he's calling from overseas. He asks if she's ever used a birth control pill called Yaz. 

"I said, 'No, I've never taken any birth control,' and he said, 'Oh, you've never taken any birth control?'" she recalled on Sunday. 

Kearsley said a 'no' answer doesn't seem to matter to the man.

"He kept talking about compensation, he kept talking about it being financially beneficial," she said. 

The man implies his company is bringing a class-action lawsuit against the makers of Yaz. He tells Kearsley she's in for a cash settlement if she files. Still, Kearsley insists she's never taken Yaz or any birth control. 

But the calls keep coming. 

"In the follow up phone calls it never seemed to matter whether I'd said no," said Kearsley. 

There are several U.S. law firms shopping class actions against the makers of Yaz. One of them is Houston-based law firm Pulaski and Middleman, LLC. A receptionist for the firm said the firm never contacts anyone. They put information out on television and radio, and ask individuals to contact them. That's when attorneys call back to discuss a possible claim.

The phone calls Kearsley continues receiving are nothing like that. 

"If they really wanted to find people who had taken this kind of birth control, then they would stop calling me with my first answer," she said. 

Kearsley said it feels like an information fishing operation. 

"What would happen if I say yes, I've taken birth control?" she said. 

She said she thinks she'd probably be asked for sensitive financial information if she cooperated with the caller. She said she'd never give any out, but that doesn't stop the calls at all hours of the day, sometimes as early as 6 a.m.

"Obviously there's no boundary," she said. "They don't have a boundary." 

Kearsley thinks she's probably not the only person getting these phone calls. She said she has no idea who's behind them, but our station wants to find out. 

Reporter Caleb James is working on a follow up story to learn more about this possible fishing operation. 

If you or anyone you know has received calls from a company about a possible lawsuit against a drug manufacturer, send Caleb an e-mail at caleb.james@npgco.com or send him a message on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CalebJamesTV

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