Several scams, some new and some old, are making their way through the Twin Counties.
Law enforcement and local citizens want folks to be aware of the scams, including a scam that has affected the area before involving AEP. A local business owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was nearly taken for $900 this past week after receiving a call from someone claiming to be with AEP.
“The guy called and said I was three months behind. He wanted me to go and buy a moneygram card for $900 and call him back after I did that or he said they were going to cut my power off,” the business owner said. “I drove to the Dollar General and the manager told me it sounded like a scam. Then he showed me an email that said it had been happening in Wythe County and to other people here in Carroll. AEP is never going to ask you for any money directly or for it to be sent on a card. You can go online and pay your bill if you need to.”
AEP offered the following tips to avoid being scammed:
• Confirm that you are speaking to a utility representative. If you have any concerns, tell them that you will independently check the phone number for the utility to verify the caller’s identity and information.
• Be wary of anyone demanding immediate payment or payment in forms that are difficult to trace, such as Western Union, Vanilla or Green Dot cash cards.
• Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or sends an email requesting information.
• Never allow anyone claiming to be a utility service person into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment and the person has proper identification. Contact the police if you become concerned about your safety.
Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner said there are many scams everyone needs to be aware of in the area. One of the most common is a scheme in which a caller tells you that you have a won a million dollars and asks you to send in a deposit to collect the money. Another involves scammers calling to inform you that a relative such as a grandchild has been jailed out of the area and needs you to send money to bail them out immediately.
“We are getting these things every day now. So many people think this one time it is the truth, but once you send that money off you will never get it back,” Gardner said. “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If you are unsure of something, just call us. Do not send money for any reason.”
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at (276) 728-4146.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN