PPD warns public of recent scams

Published 3:35 pm Monday, October 29, 2018

PELHAM – The Pelham Police Department is warning the public about two scams that have recently been brought to the department’s attention.

“We want to make sure you’re aware of what’s happening, so you don’t fall victim,” the PPD stated on its Facebook page.

The first scam involves Facebook. Criminals are hacking or cloning Facebook accounts, so the message appears to come from a friend or even a family member. The person tells users that a “federal grant” is available and asks for a picture of your driver’s license and credit card. This is an attempt to steal personal information and eventually money.

The message may reference other Facebook users, or people in your friend list, that have successfully received the grant, according to the BBB. The message may even include a link to a law office, phony government website or a real U.S. Government website to appear legitimate. Sometimes the user sending you the message uses the name and photo of a real government official or well-known public figure.

“No matter who is sending the message, or how they word it, eventually you will be asked to supply personal information and a payment for processing fees,” states the BBB’s website. “Un-friend and block these users immediately. If the message came from a person you know in real life, it is likely their account has been hacked or their profile has been cloned. Contact them offline because they may not be aware they’ve been compromised and report the abuse to Facebook.”

According to the Better Business Bureau ScamTracker data, there have been 508 reports of Facebook government grant scams submitted to BBB in the past three years with monetary losses totaling $361,744.

The second scam is targeting the business community. Scammers claiming to be with Alabama Power are telling business owners their power will be shut off to their businesses unless they pay up.

“Don’t be fooled even if your caller ID reads ‘Alabama Power,’” warns the PPD. “Alabama Power does not do business this way.”

Alabama Power does not call customers saying that service will be discontinued unless an immediate payment is made over the phone. No employee will ever call customers asking for bank information or a credit card number.

Any Alabama Power employee who goes to a customer’s home for any reason will have company identification that he or she will gladly show.

If customers have any questions about an account, or want to verify whether a person works for Alabama Power, call the company at 800-245-2244.

All calls like this should be reported to police immediately. For more tips on how to avoid being scammed, go to Pelhampd.com.