(Walhalla, SC)————————————–In our continuing efforts to educate and inform our citizens, and to prevent them from becoming victims of scams, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is releasing today our March 2022 Scams Update.
Deputies spoke with a citizen who stated that a man came to her house and offered to do work on her driveway for $1,300. Two individuals did work on her driveway and the victim gave them the check for $1,300. The man who made contact with the victim stated that they were from American Asphalt.
The workers said that they would check back in a few days to finish the driveway. The check was cashed. The victim did not hear back from the workers so she decided to call. One of the workers answered and said he would call her back and confirmed the victim’s phone number. The victim said the worker’s never asked for her contact information.
The deputy attempted to contact the worker three times; however, the deputy did not receive an answer.
“We have reported on this particular scam before and residents who contract with workers to do any type of repair work and remodeling on their home need to be extremely careful,” says Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer for the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “We do not recommend allowing anyone who comes to your door, without being solicited by you first, to do any type of remodeling or repair work at your home or around your property. We recommend not paying, in full, for work that is done until it is completed and is satisfactory.”
“We recommend working with local contractors who are licensed and bonded and have a good reputation. This will also benefit you, as a consumer, if problems should arise with the work you are having done, as those businesses will be local,” says Master Deputy Watt. “You may also want to get a recommendation from family and friends as well. Be aware also that, according to the law, there are differences that arise between a civil case and a criminal case depending on if money is paid out and whether work was started or not. We have also seen where work was substandard, however, the victim was not overcharged. Therefore, in those cases, it would also more than likely be a civil matter and not criminal.”
Public Information Watt spoke with a citizen regarding a message she received from a power company, stating that the citizen’s power would be disconnected. The citizen told Master Deputy Watt that no personal identifying information, financial account information or money was lost or compromised.
“Based on some information I have seen online from Duke Energy and Blue Ridge Electric, we recommend that if someone calls you and states that your power will be cut off and demands an immediate payment, hang up the phone and call your utility company immediately,” says Master Deputy Watt. “Scammers want to create a sense of urgency, however, do not provide them any personal identifying information or financial account information. If any of that information has been compromised, in regards to any scam, contact your local law enforcement agency so a report can be placed on file.”
A deputy received a call on their personal cell phone from an individual stating that he was Sergeant Johnson from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. When the deputy provided her name and told the caller that she worked with the Sheriff’s Office, the caller hung up.
The deputy called the number back and received a message that the number was no longer working. The deputy called the number from a different phone number and a man answered the phone saying “Sheriff’s Department.” The deputy relayed her information again and told the man he could be charged with impersonating an officer.
The man used profanity and hung up on her. The man was calling from an 864 number. The case has been forwarded to the Criminal Investigations Division.
“The law enforcement scam here is a demonstration that anyone can potentially be a victim of a scam. It is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to receive calls as well from scammers,” says Master Deputy Watt. “Everyone must also be aware of they could be a victim of a scam too.”