Posted: Wednesday, August 6th 2014 at 9:46am
Clarkesville police issue scam alert
By Rob Moore Editor
CLARKESVILLE - Telephone scams are a persistent problem across the region, and recently some Clarkesville businesses have been affected by them.
Capt. Danny Clouatre, assistant police chief for Clarkesville, discussed the problem.
"We have reports that merchants, and possibly citizens as well, are being called by individuals pretending to be representatives of Georgia Power or some other service provider stating there is a past-due balance on the account," Clouatre said. "The scammer then demands payment or threatens service termination/disconnection."
Usually the scammer demands that the person get a GreenDot card, MoneyPak or other prepaid credit card.
One Clarkesville business fell victim to the scam.
The would-be scammer told the business operator the account was three months behind on its bill, for a total of $1,798. The caller demanded a $498 minimum payment, stipulating that it be in the form of a MoneyPak card in minimum amounts of $200, Clouatre said.
"The owners were in a position to where they were not 100 percent sure it had been paid," Clouatre said.
After thinking about the call, the businessperson called Clarkesville police.
"They weren't out any money, but they did fall for the scam," Clouatre said.
Clouatre reminds people to beware callers demanding money by telephone, as most utilities do not do phone collections.
"If you didn't initiate the call, don't provide personal or credit information over the phone," Clouatre said.
A second scam involved callers pretending to be selling advertisements and demanding payment.
"These scammers have been persistent, making several calls to businesses until payment is made," Clouatre said.
The callers have continued to call after being told not to call back.
"That's just a variation of the same scam, trying to get the GreenDot or MoneyPak cards," he said.
Clarkesville police encourage people to beware of unsolicited phone calls telling them to pay money for anything they didn't order, including paying a small amount to collect a larger amount of money.
Clarkesville residents or merchants who have been contacted by scammers can call (706) 754-5390.
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