Ashland Police warning residents of new phone scam

(Photo: The Associated Press)
(Photo: The Associated Press)

Ashland, Va. (WRIC) — The Ashland Police Department is warning residents of a new phone scam in which the caller says to represent a home repair business.

Several reports have been filed by residents of townhomes and apartments. The caller claims they have been contracted to provide roofing and siding services and would need to enter the residents’ homes during the work.

In each case, the callers could not provide information to confirm the work and hung up.

Another ongoing phone scam involves calls from someone who claims the resident has not paid a utility bill, a government fine or taxes. The scammer identifies him/herself as working for the IRS. If the individual refuses to pay, the fake IRS caller threatens imprisonment or other severe punishment.

One clear sign of a scam is the request to wire money or use pre-paid debit cards. Do not give any information or make payment arrangements over the phone. The government and most companies do not operate this way. Police suggest calling the utility company or visit the office in person to investigate the matter.

Common characteristics of the IRS Phone Scam are as follows:

  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you’re ever in doubt or need help when confronted with one of these calls, contact the Ashland Police Department for assistance at (804) 730-6140.

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