Scammer purports to be Fairfield policeman

Calls from 'Lt. Turner' among increasing number of phone frauds

Scam artists are posing as Microsoft technical support, United Illuminating, even Fairfield police in their efforts to steal money from local residents.

In one recent scam, a man purporting to be “Lt. Turner” from the Fairfield Police Department has called local homes and businesses, Lt. James Perez, an actual member of the force, said Monday.

“Turner” tells residents who answer that they were caught on red light cameras violating traffic laws, and must pay a fine or be arrested.

State law does not yet allow traffic cameras to be used as an enforcement method in Connecticut.

When police called the number back, the voice on the other end answered, “Lt. Turner, Fairfield Police.”

The “lieutenant” hung up when told he was speaking with actual officers, Perez said.

Local businesses have received calls from people saying they represent United Illuminating, demanding immediate payment to keep the lights in.

In all the cases, Perez said, callers asked for payment in the form of “Green Dot” cards.

“Once the ID number is given to the scammer, they hang up,” Perez said. “It’s an instant transfer of money.”

Scam artists like “Lt. Turner” (there is no such person on the Fairfield Police force) work quickly to build the trust of their targets. In a recent case, the caller told a woman to stay on the phone with him as she drove to CVS to purchase a card to use as payment, so he could talk to any police officer who might pull her over and clear up any problems.

Businesses are receiving calls by someone claiming to be from UI, saying power will be shut off without an immediate payment. Again, payment is requested through non-traceable cash cards.

Perez urged anyone who receives call claiming to be from a utility to take a return number. If the caller is legitimate, that number will be confirmed when vetting the company through sources such as its website.

Likewise, Perez said, no agency on any level of government — federal, state or local — would initiate contact by phone or email with a resident. Representatives of the agencies would only reply to those who had first contacted them.

Other callers say they are from a technical support provider, detecting problems with a computer that they can fix remotely for a fee. Once they succeed in getting that money, another scammer — working with the first, but pretending to be another company — calls with a scam warning, and offers to fix the new “problem” for a larger fee, Perez said.

Scammers are using a legal source to pick targets, Perez said: The Carmel, N.Y.-based Direct Marketing Association, which mines data and sells contact list information.

One way to avoid scams is to opt off the list, he said. Contact information for the Direct Marketing Association can be found at thedma.org.

 

 

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