The Charlestown Police Department has recently received complaints from individuals experiencing a new type of phone scam being attempted by perpetrators in the Louisville Metro area. The scam involves receiving a phone call from an individual claiming to represent a local utility company, such as Duke Energy. The scammer calls on the pretense that the citizen’s account is in danger of being frozen and service disconnected as a result of being delinquent. The scammer asks for credit card or banking information over the phone immediately; to process any type of payment on the account to avoid a disconnect. This type of situation is normally a scam, and can catch unsuspecting citizens off guard with panic over the thought of not having a daily necessity such as a power utility.
Citizens who receive such a phone call should not give any personal or financial information out over the phone until the claimed problem is verified and the individual calling is verified to be legitimate. Law Enforcement suggests that instead, and especially in cases where an account does exist, citizens should use a verified or trusted business contact number (such as what is normally found on a billing statement) to make contact with the business personally and confirm if there is actually a problem with their account or not. Keep in mind, that any legitimate call from a business should understand and cooperate with any and all attempts to confirm who they are talking with; even if they already know your address or even account number.
Unfortunately, obtaining information about a confirmed scam callers phone number is not a reliable means for law enforcement to even investigate scam attempts. Anyone can use the internet to disguise the real phone number they are calling from; and even manipulate a caller ID return to disguise a company or business name, this technique is called “Spoofing”.
Don’t let panic or threats of legal action rush you past confirming the legitimacy of possible scammers; even those who show up at your door. Make protecting your personal and financial information the first priority before trusting someone you have never met.
For more details on protecting yourself, visit the United States Consumer Trade Commission at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-things-you-can-do-avoid-fraud.