There are several ways to pay bills these days. From the applications on cellular devices, to over-the-phone payments, collectors will receive their money. However, one should never give personal credit or debit card information over the phone unless completely confident in the person on the other end of the receiver. Several telemarketers from companies and organizations call homes all day long, but please note: the water department, utility companies and other service providers will not make a phone call, threatening to disconnect services. Numerous elderly citizens are receiving phone calls from people over the weekend and after normal business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., demanding immediate payment and threatening disruption of gas, water, electricity and other services. The catch is that the resident is unable to verify the debt because the businesses are closed when the call is received. After convincing the citizen that he or she owes money and it must be paid right away, the “telemarketer” immediately directs the resident to purchase a green dot card or other loadable card, and then demands the card number and pin from the citizen. Within no time, all the money loaded onto the card is transferred into another account and the citizen has lost that money. Often, the resident is targeted a second time because he or she fell prey to the first swindle.
The recipients of these calls are victims, and while this type of crime may be hard to trace, it’s not difficult to prevent. Service providers will never call demanding payment on the spot; therefore, citizens should not make service payments over the phone if he or she did not initiate the phone call. Please help spread the word, specifically to the elderly, that they should not release any personal information over the phone. When someone requests credit and debit card information, instantly conclude the conversation. However, if you or someone you know becomes a victim of a telephone scam, don’t hesitate to call the police.