There are a couple of popular scams going around the country right now that you need to know about. The common thread among them all? Crooks masquerading as service workers or employees of a company!
Know the security company scam
So, picture this: A con artist comes to your door, saying they’re from (fill in the blank) security company. Maybe it’s the same one you have a sign for in your yard. They say they’re getting alerts at the monitoring station indicating that your system is no longer online. So they’re showing up at your door proactively to do a diagnostic and fix the problem. Very often they’re well spoken and knowledgeable. They ‘fix’ the problem and then leave.
But it’s just a ruse. What they do is put in some kind of master code on your box. Then they case your home. When you’re gone, they come in and disarm your system and help themselves to your prize possessions! Consumer Reports recently reported on this scam and it’s good to get the word out there as we come up to the holiday season.
Variations where crooks masquerade as other service providers
This fits nicely into a group of hot scams that generally involve crooks masquerading as employees of power or utility companies! Here how this one plays: Somebody knocks on your door says they’re from your power company, or your water company or your natural gas provider. And the next thing out of their mouth is, ‘You’re being shut off for lack of payments.’
Or here’s another variation targeting small businesses: Scamsters hit restaurants at peak times like lunch and impersonate people from the power company. Again, they say your service is being shut off…but we can avoid this if you pay now. (They’ll only accept cash.)
Here’s yet another version: You get a call that is supposedly a disconnect notice–a courtesy reminder that your power is being shut off. But, you can pay right now over the phone with credit, debit or your checking account info.
The reality is each utility — be it water, power, natural gas — has a clear procedure where you’re notified if there’s going to be a shut off. These scammers just work on the basis of fear and emotion and steal your money. Don’t let them have it!!
What’s the takeaway for you?
Don’t ever give anyone entry to your home unless you have called for a service call. It is so easy for people to obtain stolen uniforms or just simply counterfeit them.
I hate to tell you stuff like this because I don’t want you to be paranoid at home. But this is about you being informed and making the right choices to protect yourself and your family!