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Police warn public of phone scammers posing as local repairmen

Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay.

Reports of another new scam affecting members of the community have been increasing, according to Kingston Police.

This latest scam appears to be perpetrated by scammers from outside of the area who are using Kingston area phone numbers to make it appear that the calls are being received from legitimate local businesses, according to a police report dated Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.

The callers indicate that they want to come and check the potential victim’s cold water heater, and speak with thick foreign accents, according to police. The callers also have access to the full name and address of the potential victims and explain that they are acting as a third party vendor.

When asked by the potential victim who they are working for the scammers are evasive and immediately attempt to change the subject, according to the report. Generally the scammers attempt to set up a time to meet at the potential victim’s address to fix the alleged mechanical issue. Police believe this is being done in an attempt to ascertain when there may be no one home at the residence. The scammers then indicate that the attending repairman will be wearing some form of a badge for identification, police say.

In one recent complaint, police say the potential victim was put through to a supervisor who stated that the company wanted to check the foam levels in the cold water heater. If the potential victims ask too many questions or threaten to call the police, believing the call to be a scam, the call is promptly disconnected. According to police, one potential victim attempted to call the scammer back only to find out that the phone number was no longer in service.

Kingston Police recommends members of the public work with reputable tradespeople at all time, and avoid providing personal information to unsolicited callers.

“It is important to follow your instincts and if something does not feel right it most likely is not,” Constable Ash Gutheinz said in the report. “Do not hesitate to hang up the phone on an unsolicited caller who is unable or unwilling to provide their credentials. It is always best practice to research a prospective repair company in advance. This can be accomplished through word of mouth from family or friends or through internet searches of local businesses where you can check for previous reviews and even reach out to management by phone or email should you have further questions or concerns.”

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