ALBANY — Someone is trying to scam local Mediacom customers — especially senior citizens — into giving out their bank information over the telephone, law enforcement officials say.
According to Cpt. Craig Dodd, with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, the caller tries to convince Mediacom users that more money is due on their accounts or their service will be quickly discontinued.
“He asks them for bank information,” Dodd said, “or a credit card number to pay it off. He would then go to the Internet and have merchandise delivered to some other address. You’d be amazed how many people would do what he asks.”
Dodd said the basic scam isn’t new — only that it’s a local person with a cellphone who uses a local company name. According to Dodd, the scams could be about anything which generates a kind of fear in the target audience.
One scam that popular with criminals is the “warning” call to senior citizens that they’ve been indicted for ordering their medications from Canada. Even if they’ve never ordered anything, many will pay the “fine” by telephone, just to avoid trouble, Dodd said.
“(The scammers) start high pressuring them, like a used car salesman, and (the victims) pay because they think federal marshals are coming to arrest them,” Dodd said.
“I used to tell people that if the person on the phone has a foreign accent, it’s pretty certain they’re calling from Jamaica, Nigeria or Pakistan.” Dodd said. “But now, if he sounds Indian he may work for Dell or Microsoft.”
Those who have spoken with the scammer report he seems inarticulate, slow speaking and tends to slur his words, Dodd said.
“He strikes me as less than your “cutting-edge” criminal,” Dodd said, “but you should be certain not to give him any information whatsoever. Make sure to write down and keep the number he’s calling from, so it can be referenced later on.”
Dodd advises anyone who is unsure about a caller claiming to represent Mediacom or any other company should call the direct company line. Mediacom can be reached at 866-637-2225.
“We will track down the (scammer’s) number,” Dodd said, “and we’ll wake him up one morning.”
Dodd said anyone contacted by the scammer, or who has information as to his whereabouts, should call the Dougherty County Sheriff’s office at (229) 431-3222.