ROSWELL, Ga. — “Don’t be tricked. Just hang up!” This is the message the Roswell Police Department wants residents to hear regarding a recent rash of telephone scamming in Roswell.
“It is common for telephone scammers to claim to be representatives from utility companies or local law enforcement officers,” said Officer Zac Frommer with the Roswell Police Department.
“No legitimate utility company or government agency would demand immediate payment or make threats,” he said. “Unsuspecting victims consider threats more seriously if they think there’s a monetary or law-related consequence if they don’t comply.”
Common characteristics of telephone scams include:
• A person claiming to be from a utility company (such as gas, water, electricity or phone) saying if you don’t make a payment immediately, they will shut off your service.
• A person claiming to be law enforcement (a police officer, court clerk or sheriff’s deputy) and using words like ticket, arrest, jail and warrant to scare you into giving them money.
• The scammer demanding quick payment by money orders or prepaid debit cards. Watch out for brand names like Green Dot, Money Pak, Western Union or Money Gram.
The person on the other end may be very convincing. That’s their job, to con victims into believing they are legitimate. But they all have one characteristic in common – they are demanding that the victim hand over cash or prepaid cards.
Frommer said a caller ID display may even make it look like the call is originating from a utility company, but it is not. According to the Federal Communications Commission, scammers sometimes use a practice known as “caller-ID spoofing,” which allows them to deliberately falsify the telephone number or name relayed on caller ID.
It is important to be aware of these situations to protect yourself, but also to protect friends and family. Someone who has been scammed may be too embarrassed or scared to say something. You should encourage them to report their situation so that it doesn’t happen again.
“We need everyone’s help with this, to prevent telephone scammers from getting away with your hard-earned money,” said Frommer.