Scammers Pose as Utility Workers

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December 20, 2005
Richmond County investigators are stepping up their search for two people posing as power company workers. On Saturday, two separate incidents happened at a house on Bel Air Road and Fleming Drive. And today scammers struck again. This time it was at a house on Durham Court in South Augusta. News 12 talked with one of the victims who explains exactly how it works.

85-year-old Mary James trusted the two men who said they were from the power company. She didn’t think twice since roadwork was going on right down the street.

“He had a hard hat on, you know one of these shell hats,” said Mary James.

Mrs. James said the two men said they were from a power company and needed to come into her house and look at some wiring.

But instead the two men posing as utility workers were there to steal money. Here’s how the scam works…

“He went into the kitchen and told me to come in there he had something to show me,” James said.

“The basic scam behind this is to distract the homeowner which is what they did by getting them to hold a tape measurer while they measure a distance from the house,” said Lt. Tony Walden, Richmond Co. Sheriff’s Office.

“I told him I can’t stand up any longer,” James said.

“While the homeowner is distracted the other subject goes into the bedroom and searches for money,” Walden said.

Ms. James went to check on money she had in a safe place when she felt something was not right. She had an envelope with $162, money she was going to use for bills and Christmas presents.

“He just grabbed the money and here he went,” James said.

Investigators say these types of scams target the elderly the majority of the time. Now they are urging them to be on guard.

“If you aren’t having and you didn’t call them what reason do they have in your house? So I would be calling the Georgia Power office and ask if they sent them out there,” Walden said.

The men are described as two white men between the ages of 40-65, so they’re not exactly who you would expect. They wear gray and white construction hats. Both men are about 5’10” and between 170-180 pounds. One has gray hair, the other has brown hair. They are apparently driving a burgundy van or truck.

Georgia Power representatives tell News 12 that all employees have photo ID badges, which they should show you. They also all have clothing that has the Georgia Power logo. And no employee has any reason to enter the home. All field service reps work on the outside of the home. In most cases, field service reps all have Georgia Power vehicles. If you have any concerns, call the customer service numbers at 1-888-660-5890.