Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman is warning residents not to be duped by several types of scams which are being perpetrated locally.
Phone scam asks for bond money
One scam involved a telephone caller who claimed to be the victim’s grandson. The caller then pleaded with the victim to send money, to supposedly help the caller get released on bond after a DWI charge. The victim sent money as requested via prepaid cards purchased from an area department store. The victim later learned the caller was not his grandson.
Sheriff Bowman said the victim contacted the Sheriff’s Office, but the investigation determined the call originated outside the United States and therefore could not be prosecuted. The victim lost thousands of dollars that cannot be recovered.
Another scam that starts this time of year and is seasonal and involves migrating “Irish traveler” types, who go from town to town and seek out odd jobs. Bowman said the travelers are really scam artists who do shoddy, substandard work and are gone from the area soon after.
The Sheriff said this type of scammer will approach a property owner and ask to pave or repair driveways, paint barns, seal roofs, or do similar jobs. However, many times the first rain that comes washes away the driveway or roof “sealant” or “paint,” exposing the scam — but the workers have made themselves scarce.
Sweepstakes phone scam
Yet another scam was reported to The Times by a wary senior citizen who thankfully didn’t fall for it. She asked not to be identified but said a man called her and claimed he was with Publishers’ Clearing House. He gave a long greeting, told her she had won a prize, and was very realistic. The man claimed to be in Salisbury and said he was heading her way. However, the local woman knew something was wrong when the caller began to ask for names of her beneficiaries, bank information, and other personal details. She wisely ended the call.
“If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is,” said Sheriff Bowman.
If you suspect you have been contacted by a scam artist, call the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office at 828-632-1111 or the Taylorsville Police Department at 828-632-2218.