Neighborhood Safety Tips
SCAMMERS TARGETING CITY OF CONCORD UTILITY CUSTOMERS
The City of Concord is once again alerting its residents, businesses, and other customers to be vigilant against scams targeting utility customers. While utility scams are not new or unique to Concord, the tactics these criminals use frequently change and become increasingly sophisticated over time.
Common scam tactics
Power disconnection threats: Customers may receive threats to turn off electric service – usually in less than an hour – if a large payment is not made.
Immediate payment requests: Customers are asked to quickly purchase a prepaid debit card and provide the card information, which grants the scammer instant access to personal funds. Some scammers may also request a money wire.
Calls that appear to be from your utility: Scammers may rig caller ID to make it look like the call is from a service provider.
The latest variation is that scammers are posing as City of Concord and Duke Energy employees, claiming that you are behind on your bills. They'll tell you that you have until the end of the day to make a payment, or risk having your power shut off. In order to pay, you'll need to dial an 800-number. When you call, an automated message will play, saying that you have reached your utility provider. It's then followed by a customer service menu, similar to what you'd hear if you called the actual number. When you follow the prompts, you'll directed to a scammer who will try to convince you they legitimately have your account information and solicit payment.
The City of Concord is telling its customers that this is a scam. Never give out your credit card information over the phone, unless you are confident that you have called your utility company on your own accord using the number printed on your bill. For City of Concord utility customers, this number is 704-920-5555.
If you've fallen victim to this scam or have received a similar call, please contact your utility company (for City of Concord, 704-920-5555) and local law enforcement (for Concord Police, 704-920-5000).
BOGUS REPAIR SERVICES
Suspect(s), usually more than one person, confront Victim, usually elderly, and say they notice that the Victim needs some work done on the roof, driveway or house. Suspect(s) ask for a down-payment for the job in cash and return in the next few days to do some kind of work. However, the "repair" that is done is only superficial and not in many cases, ever needed. Examples: Roofs can be treated (sprayed) with a certain oil to look good initially, but no significant restoration has been done. Driveways can appear to have been re-asphalted when they have just been painted over with black paint. Re-roofing of shingles where, instead of the entire roof being replaced, only the shingles on the edge of the roof or those easily seen are replaced.
BOGUS TRAVEL AGENCIES
If using a travel agency, make sure that you check how long the company has been operating. There have been cases where people have made reservations with travel agencies from out of state. The agency made the reservations, then vanished with clients' monies.
YOU SCRATCHED MY CAR
Suspect(s) may follow you out of a market or shopping mall parking lot and want you to stop because you supposedly hit their car. Suspect(s) then demand money for damage to their car. If this occurs to you, demand the police be called because you won't agree to pay anything without a police report.
Suspect-1 approaches Victim-1 with a story of some kind. Usually, a Suspect-2 comes into the situation as a supposed unrelated party and substantiates Suspect-1's plan. Sample stories: "I have a large amount of money that I want to donate and don't have proper identification"...or, "I found this large sum of money and we can split it, but you need to contribute some money to show good faith of your involvement..."