Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 6, 2014

GPD investigating Comcast scam

By Brent Brown Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – A man purporting to be a Comcast employee bilked a Greensburg couple out of more than $250 last week, Greensburg Chief of Police Stacey Chasteen said.

Chasteen notified the Daily News of the current investigation Wednesday afternoon.

The case involves a local couple who received a phone call last Friday from a man claiming to be a Comcast representative.

The caller gave the scam victim the victim’s own name, address, Comcast payment methods, Internet speed and the last four digits of his Social Security number during the call. The caller requested the customer pay for six months of Comcast cable service to receive an upgrade to his internet service, 120 additional TV channels and a Kindle Fire e-reader.

The customer complied and paid $254.95 via a Green Dot MoneyPak card, a reloadable credit card accepted by many major retailers.

A case report sent to the Daily News by Chasteen states the couple experienced trouble with their service earlier this week, prompting them to call the phone number that had been listed on their order form following payment. The person who answered the call hung up the phone on the victim. Attempts to call the number again revealed that it had been disconnected.

Chief Chasteen said the GPD is not aware of any other victims of the scam thus far, though she and her investigative team are hoping to cull more information about the crime from Greensburg residents.

Chasteen said her department has not yet determined how the caller knew so much of the victim’s personal and cable account information. She said the victim also notified the office of the Indiana Attorney General.

As it stands, Chasteen said the crime committed would be considered felony theft by fraud.

The Daily News could not reach Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen by press time Wednesday to determine whether his department has received similar reports.

Cpl. Gary Jessee with the Indiana State Police Versailles Post said he was not aware of a Comcast scam, but he warned southeastern Indiana citizens that his department has received multiple reports of various other attempts to swindle Hoosiers.

These include calls from individuals pretending to represent the Internal Revenue Service. In this case, the callers request sensitive information, such as a person’s social security number, and typically request the intended victim send money.

Another common phony phone tactic preys particularly on older Americans, Jessee said. This crime involves a caller who impersonates a police officer, lawyer or other such figure who claims to be calling on behalf of the intended victim’s “incarcerated” relative. Such schemes ask the victim to send bail money to ensure the relative’s release. In reality, the scammer has likely obtained information about his or her intended victim via the Internet, the corporal said.

Jessee said a third scam has seen individuals posing as members of Publisher’s Clearinghouse or similar organizations going door-to-door claiming their intended victims have won exorbitant amounts of money or lavish prizes. The victim will receive his or her money, the criminals say, after paying a processing fee or similar smaller amount, which is said to be standard procedure to receive the prize. The money given is never returned, and there was no prize in the first place.

Jessee cautioned that individuals receiving calls requesting sensitive information or money should file a complaint regarding the incident at www.ic3.gov.

Chief Chasteen said crimes can be reported locally by calling the GPD at 663-3131 or 662-7463.

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at 663-8125.

Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056; brent.brown@greensburgdailynews.com