Scam artists are deceiving homeowners, renters and businesses in Northern Virginia. In 2013, I sent a similar warning about them which bears repeating as NOVEC has informed me that the problem has cropped up again in the area.

Scammers in Northern Virginia are posing as representatives of utilities, other businesses, and police departments. Scammers usually call on the phone, often with”spoofing” technology that indicates on Caller ID that the call is coming from a legitimate business. But some scammers are going to homes and businesses, posing as utility workers, and asking for entry.

The Fairfax County Police have told citizens to be alert to callers who claim to be detectives and use scare tactics to bully victims into giving personal and financial information. The Sully District Station said,”Under no circumstances should you provide these individuals your information or meet with them in person to give them money.” The station said to report scam attempts to the police.

Regarding imposters who show up at the door and claim to be Co-op employees, Pam Ringel, NOVEC customer service center supervisor points out that NOVEC service personnel wear Co-op uniforms, and their vehicles display NOVEC’s name and logo clearly. Ringel says,”If you feel threatened, lock your door and call 911 immediately. Then call NOVEC to verify a suspicious person’s identity.”

The Virginia Attorney General’s office notes that scammers are apparently targeting Spanish-speaking and elderly people and businesses in particular.

To help protect yourself and your family:

Always attempt to verify the identity of a caller who claims to represent a business. Do not provide money or personal information to an unsolicited caller whose identity cannot be verified.

Do not make a payment by purchasing a Green Dot card or other means when told to do so.
If using MoneyPak, never give your MoneyPak number or receipt information to someone you don’t know. Use MoneyPak only to reload prepaid cards or accounts you control.

Always take time making a decision. Legitimate companies don’t pressure customers to make snap decisions.
If you received a suspicious call and made a payment to the scammer, report it to the local police, or to state or federal law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission.

I hope that this information will help minimize the impact that these criminals are able to make in our area.