An old scam with a new twist has been circulating around Screven County, and law enforcement officials are reminding residents to be wary of phone calls from people seeking money.
Screven County sheriff's Investigator Brett Dickerson said residents have recently reported receiving phone calls from people claiming to be Verizon Wireless employees. The callers claim the potential victim is behind on cellphone bill payments and that their service will be interrupted if they do not send payment, he said.
It's a slightly different tactic, but similar calls from people claiming to be from other cellphone companies, power companies and other service providers - even the Internal Revenue Service - have also been reported, and the end result is always the same: callers ask for money and personal information.
"They ask for credit card payment over the phone, a wire transfer" or other method of payment, Dickerson said. "No one (in Screven County) has fallen for it yet" to his knowledge.
Sylvania Police Chief Gary Weaver said he is also familiar with the scam, and said it is just another version of scams that have been around a while.
"Scams come and scams go," he said. "Use good common sense and realize you can't get anything for free."
The newest phone scam is "nothing other than normal," Weaver added.
Dickerson suggests that persons receiving calls about unpaid bills should hang up and call the company with which the caller claims to work. A quick query regarding one's personal account information should verify whether a bill is owed and service is slated for disconnection, and the company should be able to verify whether the call is a scam, he said.
"Unfortunately, these kind of calls have become routine," Dickerson said. "Most folks have gotten wise to it."
Another bit of advice is to never give personal information over the phone or to an unknown person, he said.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.