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Police warn of utility scam targeting seniors

Tuesday - 3/5/2013, 1:55pm  ET

WASHINGTON - A new scam is targeting Fairfax County senior citizens and police are warning residents not to give out personal information over the telephone.

In the latest scam, callers pretend to be from a utility company. The callers tell the victim that their service will be disconnected unless they pay by phone immediately, Fairfax County police say.

Frightened seniors are providing their account numbers and pay over the phone thinking it will ensure their heat or power isn't cut off, police say.

The calls typically come during weekdays and the callers often speak quickly or with an accent so victims may find them difficult to understand. Some recipients have challenged the callers' demands and the callers grew frustrated and hung up the phone, police say.

Callers also claimed to be with delivery services or sweepstakes. They have also claimed that the financial information is needed to send documents like new health insurance or social security cards, police say.

Fairfax County police say dozens of senior citizens have been the victims of telephone scams in the past few weeks.

Police say residents should never provide personal financial information over the phone. They should verify whether a company is legitimate and call the official phone number first.

Anyone who has received such phone calls should report the scam to police using Fairfax's online reporting system or call 703-691-2131.

The Social Security Administration has posted information about reporting social security fraud on its website.

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