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Sunday May 1st, 2016 4:54AM

Clarkesville police issue scam alert

By Rob Moore Reporter
CLARKESVILLE - Telephone scams are a persistent problem across the region, and recently some Clarkesville businesses have been affected by them.<br /> <br /> Capt. Danny Clouatre, assistant police chief for Clarkesville, discussed the problem.<br /> <br /> "We have reports that merchants, and possibly citizens as well, are being called by individuals pretending to be representatives of Georgia Power or some other service provider stating there is a past-due balance on the account," Clouatre said. "The scammer then demands payment or threatens service termination/disconnection."<br /> <br /> Usually the scammer demands that the person get a GreenDot card, MoneyPak or other prepaid credit card.<br /> <br /> One Clarkesville business fell victim to the scam.<br /> <br /> The would-be scammer told the business operator the account was three months behind on its bill, for a total of $1,798. The caller demanded a $498 minimum payment, stipulating that it be in the form of a MoneyPak card in minimum amounts of $200, Clouatre said.<br /> <br /> "The owners were in a position to where they were not 100 percent sure it had been paid," Clouatre said.<br /> <br /> After thinking about the call, the businessperson called Clarkesville police.<br /> <br /> "They weren't out any money, but they did fall for the scam," Clouatre said.<br /> <br /> Clouatre reminds people to beware callers demanding money by telephone, as most utilities do not do phone collections.<br /> <br /> "If you didn't initiate the call, don't provide personal or credit information over the phone," Clouatre said.<br /> <br /> A second scam involved callers pretending to be selling advertisements and demanding payment.<br /> <br /> "These scammers have been persistent, making several calls to businesses until payment is made," Clouatre said.<br /> <br /> The callers have continued to call after being told not to call back.<br /> <br /> "That's just a variation of the same scam, trying to get the GreenDot or MoneyPak cards," he said.<br /> <br /> Clarkesville police encourage people to beware of unsolicited phone calls telling them to pay money for anything they didn't order, including paying a small amount to collect a larger amount of money.<br /> <br /> Clarkesville residents or merchants who have been contacted by scammers can call (706) 754-5390.
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