Here is a news media notification from a sheriff’s office over in the valley. It appears that scammers are getting more brazen and bold – both over the phone AND in person. We thought that all of Bend area readers would appreciate knowing what’s going on and to be better prepared when con artists come to call – either on the phone – even on your front porch.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office would like to issue the following warning to all county residents concerning a telephone scam several citizens have reported in the last several weeks.
This scam begins when someone, posing as a deputy from the Sheriff’s Office, contacts the victim via telephone. The deputy provides his name and a badge number in hopes of making the call believable. The caller advises residents that they are delinquent from jury duty and will be arrested immediately.
In order to avoid arrest, the caller advises the victim that they can pay a fine. They are instructed to go to 7 Eleven and obtain a “Green Dot MoneyPak” reload card. The victim is also provided with a local telephone number to call. Once the victim has obtained the money order, they are instructed to call the number and provide the numbers located on the back of the money order.
The people promoting the scam will provide courtroom numbers, addresses, warrant numbers, etc. in an attempt to make the scam believable.
The public is reminded that this is not the way the court or law enforcement system works. This is a scam. The public should not provide personal identifying information over the telephone to the scammers and should immediately report any financial loss due to this scam to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.
HERE ARE MORE DETAILS ON HOW THESE SCAMS PLAY OUT…
STATEMENT OF A VICTIM:
“Today we received an alarming call today and feel like we should pass the information on. One of our regular customers received a call from a man stating that he was from her heating and air conditioning company and that he would be there for her appointment the following Monday. When she asked if he was from Hendrix Heating he told her “YES”. She then said that her next scheduled appointment with Hendrix was not until January 16. At that point… the man hung up. We’ve heard about recent scams where thieves are representing themselves as heating and air conditioning or carpet cleaning companies, thereby gaining access to homes.
Also, a local Heating and Air Conditioning Company reported that they was used by a conman in order to steal money form a Benton County resident. The company issued the following statement:
“Please be aware that unless you have prepaid maintenance contracts set up with us, we will not call proactively to schedule appointments.” Officers say Please share this information especially with elderly friends and family members as these are the folks that may be being targeted more frequently.”
In addition to Hendricks, Mikes Heating and Air Conditioning in Albany has also been affected. Mikes customers have also been receiving phone calls where the caller pretends to be from “their” heating company and scheduling duct cleanings or some other service. Some of the phone calls were from false numbers with a 503 area code.
There was one incident involving a man who actually came to the door of a customer in Brownsville. The scammer told the customer if he doesn’t schedule his next maintenance, he forfeits his contract. The scammer became demanding and intimidating; however the customer did not give in and eventually the scammer left.
Recent scammers have been calling customers or going door-to-door demanding special deposits, scheduling or verifying fictitious appointments and falsely representing themselves as a legitimate business. Remember that legitimate field employees wear identification badges and they will not demand immediate payment for service or equipment.
Also remember, if you are in doubt that the caller or visitor represents your contract or even a legitimate company you should call the company on a number that you recognize or you can call your local Law Enforcement Agency.
Don’t give out personal information. Be suspicious of anyone who asks for your Social Security number, birthdate, credit card number, bank account number, password, or other personal data.
At this time it is unknown if any other companies have been affected or falsely represented. In total there have been between 10 and 20 victims identified. If you feel that you have been a victim of this scam please record all information that may be relevant to the scammer including name, phone number, or company they claim to be working for. This information can be given to your local Law Enforcement.
If someone shows up at your residence and you feel threatened or are in fear for your safety call 911 immediately.