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Scams in Portage County targeting utility customers

Published: April 12, 2017 1:00 AM

Scammers are once again targeting Portage County residents by pretending to be utility company representatives in order to commit theft and fraud.

Both the Portage County Sheriff's Office and Ravenna Police Department have taken reports of callers identifying themselves as Dominion East Ohio gas company representatives, when they are really seeking to take victims' money.

Detective Lt. Greg Johnson of the sheriff's office said the numbers show up as local on caller ID -- a result of scammers "spoofing" real numbers to fool potential victims into thinking they are legitimate.

In the scam, the caller tells the intended victim they have made an overpayment on their Dominion account, and attempts to talk the victim into giving up his or her bank account information.

Scammers can "spoof" real phone numbers using resources they find on the internet, said Johnson, even making calls look like they are coming from legitimate sources.

Johnson said no one should ever give out their bank account information over the phone, unless they are "absolutely certain" they are talking to a legitimate representative of a utility company or their own bank.

If you receive a call of this nature, contact your local law enforcement agency.


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