FRAUD ALERT: Don’t Let This Utility Scam Leave You Out In The Cold

Fraud Alert

BBB Alert: Don’t Let this Utility Scam Leave You Out in the Cold

Roanoke, VA (January 20, 2015) – Winter has arrived and as the temperature continue to drop, heating costs continue to rise. Utility bills aren’t the only thing on the rise- the nasty weather is also attracting a nasty scam.

Businesses in Western Virginia are reporting receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be their electric utility company threatening to turn off their power unless an immediate payment is made. The caller claims to represent Appalachian Power and requests payment through a pre-paid debit card.

Appalachian Power, a unit of American Electric Power, has issued the following alert on their website:

Thieves are calling our customers, threatening to shut off power unless an immediate payment is made. Appalachian Power never asks for pre-paid debit cards for payment. Please use our authorized payment methods, and call us at (800) 956-4237 if you have questions or concerns.

The caller may sound official, and may threaten to immediately cut off the power if payment is not received. One business owner reported to BBB that the call came from a 1-877-303-0600 number and claimed to be American Electric Power. We called on 1/17/15 and a recording claimed to be American Electric Power. When we called the number just three days later on 1/20/15, we heard a recording stating we had reached the “NV Energy Disconnection Dept.” NV Energy is a legitimate utility company based out of Nevada. It appears the scammers are using the same set of phone numbers, and are
re-recording their messages using the name of a utility company that serves the zip code they are currently targeting.

“If anyone calls you and demands immediate payment accompanied by threats, hang up the phone,” says Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western VA. “A legitimate company will not operate in this manner. If you have an account with the company the caller is claiming to represent, use a verified number to call the company to check the status of your account. Never use the number supplied by the caller.”

BBB advises the following:

  • Confirm that you are speaking to a utility representative.  If you have any concerns, tell the caller that you will independently check the phone number for the utility to verify the caller’s identity and information. The toll free number for Virginia AEP consumers is 1-800-956-4237.
  • Be wary of anyone demanding immediate payment or payment in forms that are difficult to trace, such as Western Union, MoneyGram or GreenDot MoneyPak cash cards.
  • Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or sends an email requesting information.
  • Never allow anyone claiming to be a utility service person into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment and the person has proper identification. Contact police if you become concerned about your safety.
  • If you believe you may be the victim of a scam, you may contact your utility company, or you may call the BBB at (800) 533-5501.

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and 11,000 charities, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.

 

If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BBBWesternVA and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BBBWesternVA.

Download a PDF of this Fraud Alert from the BBB

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Liberty University Supports Law Enforcement During Taylors Mountain Dig

Search Party

Liberty University provided 75 box lunches and transportation for law enforcement in Bedford County, Va., on Monday, Jan. 12, as investigators, following new leads, conducted a search for a break in a decades-old case involving two missing girls.

In 1975, the Lyon sisters — Sheila, 12, and Katherine, 10 — were last seen walking to the Wheaton Plaza mall in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Wheaton, Md., from their nearby home. Investigators now believe the suspect in the case owned property on Taylor Mountain in Bedford County, which is the subject search area.

Bedford County Sheriff Michael Brown said he could not describe how thankful he was for Liberty’s assistance during this time.

“There is nothing that President Jerry Falwell and Liberty will not provide for local law enforcement,” he said. “This is a financial cost for the sheriff’s office because we are a small department compared to some. I cannot say enough about how thankful I am to Liberty for providing the lunches and transportation for investigators up and down the mountain.”

For 12 hours per day from Jan. 12-15, members from the FBI field office in Richmond, Va., and other law enforcement agencies will eat meals provided by Sodexo, Liberty’s dining services provider, at Thaxton Baptist Church in Bedford. Liberty University Transit Services will shuttle them to and from Taylor Mountain throughout the search process.

“We are hoping to uncover evidence on the mountain that will lead us to a suspect after a proper examination,” Brown said. “The priority is to locate these two young girls so that we can return remains to their parents and give them a (proper) burial. No parent should go through not knowing where their children are.”

Original Article: Liberty University News and Events

Residential Fire at Saber Court in Forest Results in One Fatality

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January 9, 2015

At 4:38am a call was received for a residential fire at 1152 Saber Court, Forest Va caller advising there were flames showing from the neighbors home, unknown if residence was occupied. Crews from Forest Fire Department, Bedford Fire Company, Bedford County Fire & Rescue, Goode Rescue Squad responded. Upon arrival crews found a residential mobile home with heavy fire noted. The fire was under control at 5:21 am with one fatality. The victim has been transported to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Roanoke.   The cause of the fire at this time is under investigation by Bedford County Fire and Rescue’s Fire Marshal’s & Bedford County’s Sherriff’s Office.

Leaders of Bedford County Sheriff’s Department honor fallen New York officer

Originally published: wset.com

BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS) – Members of local law enforcement are back home after a quick trip to Brooklyn, New York.

Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown and Major Ricky Gardner traveled north to show support for an officer taken too soon.

NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu was shot alongside his partner Rafael Ramos as the two sat in their marked patrol car.

We sat down with the sheriff about what this trip meant to the long serving leader.

“It was a very humbling experience and I’ve been to law enforcement officers, deputy’s funerals, trooper’s funerals, federal agent’s funerals and it’s always a sad feeling, a feeling of loss, we are a family, we are a big family,” Sheriff Brown.

Thousands joined Brown and Gardner in honoring the fallen police officer Sunday.

While many officers in New York say they feel a lack of support from government leaders, namely Mayor Bill de Blasio following the recent officer involved shootings, they say they’ll continue working to keep their city safe.

Originally published: wsls.com

Bedford County Sheriff’s Office Goes Project Blue Light!


Project Blue Light is a simple gesture. The color blue is symbolic of peace. C.O.P.S. is encouraging law enforcement families, friends, and law enforcement agencies to decorate in blue lights not just during the holiday season but every day of the year. By placing one blue light in a window of your home, you’ll be showing your support for those officers who have made the supreme sacrifice and honoring those officers who continue to work the violent streets of our nation.

The Project Blue Light began during the holiday season in 1988 when Mrs. Dolly Craig of Philadelphia, PA wrote to C.O.P.S. that she would be putting two blue candles in her living room that holiday season. One was for her son-in-law, Daniel Gleason, who had been killed in the line of duty on June 5, 1986, while serving the Philadelphia (PA) Police Department, and the other one was for her daughter and Danny’s wife, Pam, who was killed in an automobile accident in August 1988. Danny and Pam had six children. Dolly Craig is now deceased as well, but the idea is her legacy. Project Blue Light now burns bright in the hearts of many of the nearly 15,000 surviving families of America’s fallen law enforcement officers during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Especially during the holidays, decorate with blue lights – C.O.P.S. would like to encourage law enforcement agencies to decorate the precinct stations and headquarters in blue lights. By displaying your blue lights, you will be sending a dual message: that you support America’s peacemakers and that you hope the coming year will be a year of peace.

For more information about the National Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc., visit the National C.O.P.S. website at www.nationalcops.org.

A Bedford County Sheriff’s Christmas Story

Sheriff Mike Brown

Twas’ two weeks before Christmas and at Mr. Gross’s place,
The news of so many not to have Christmas put sadness on his face.
“We need to raise money and shop for these kids, but I am just one,
I need many for this”.
So off to the Sheriff’s office he drove,
Asking for Sheriff Mike Brown to help with this load.
“My Elves all in brown will be happy to help”
So Sheriff Brown sent them to plan it all out.
Over 100 little kids with wish lists were sent,
The money raised by Gross came in and off to Wal-mart they went.
You take Timmy, Tommy, Sammy and Stu,
I’ll head to the pink aisle for Melanie and Sue.
Bags of goodies were sorted, labeled and tagged,
Now comes the hard part, for deliveries to be made.
Decked out in his hat and trusty Ford reindeer by his side,
Sheriff Santa Brown set out for a county-wide ride.
Off to Stewartsville! Body Camp! Moneta and more!
Imagine the shock on Mom’s face at the door!
The Elves in brown helped pick up the slack,
As they spread throughout the county with bags of toys on their backs.
Now these little ones of Bedford will be happy when they wake in the morn,
To see all these gifts under the tree they adorned.
Nothing makes me happier than to see a child’s smile,
Looks like we may be doing this in the future for some while.
On behalf of Mr. Gross, local businesses and my Elves in brown,
This Sheriff Santa wishes Merry Christmas to Bedford County and Bedford Town!
~Poem by Elf Sundquist

BRAG POST: Bedford County Sheriff’s Corporal Receives DMV Award

Media Notification
December 17, 2014

DMVAward
Steve Williams, Program Manager for the Roanoke Region of VA Department of Motor Vehicles, presented Corporal Gary Desilvey with the Click It or Ticket 2014 Award. This award is based on those officers who made aggressive enforcement efforts during the Click It campaign, along with promoting seat belt use to the public and community through education and outreach.

Only six individual officers in the entire Commonwealth earned this annual Seat Belt Leadership Awards this year. “Corporal Desilvey rallied the troops and coordinated Click It events throughout the year”, stated Sheriff Mike Brown, “I am very proud of his commitment and the entire agency’s commitment to the safety of all drivers that travel in and pass through Bedford County. With more than half of Virginia’s 2013 fatalities being unbelted, this type of work has a significant impact when it comes to saving lives.”

Sheriff Brown wishes to remind all drivers that Bedford County Sheriff’s Office has a ‘NO warning’ policy when it comes to those who are not buckled up.

Cpl Desilvey received an award certificate and a gift of a SureFire LED Flashlight which are known as ‘the best’ in the law enforcement world.

Download the PDF Media Notification

BRAG POST: Citizens Compliment Bedford County Sheriff’s Office!

Yesterday the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office received 2 complimentary notes from citizens. Below is the text of both letters:

Letter one:

Dear Sheriff’s

I want to thank you so much for getting me in my car on a very cold day – the gentlemen who came to help me were wonderful, and never gave up on getting my car unlocked – since my ‘roadside service’ said they had no record of me, I got a refund, which I want to share with your department – Please know how much I appreciate your help.

Letter two:

Dear Sheriff Brown:

I am writing to let you know how thankful I am to live in Bedford County. On November 30, 2014, my two kids and I returned home in the morning after driving back from visiting family in Chicago, IL over the thanksgiving holiday. We were exhausted after our 12 hour trip. When we entered our house, we learned that someone else had been in the house while we were on vacation. Shoes, playstation games, and a bottle of controlled ADD medication that had been on the counter had been stolen. We called the police who transferred us to Bedford County Sheriff’s (we live in Lynchburg City and Bedford County). Deputy Kyle Gibson was dispatched to take a report within 30 minutes. He took a thorough report, but honestly, because of the petty nature of the theft, I didn’t expect too much manpower to be dispatched for the crime. I didn’t expect to hear back from the Bedford County Sheriff’s again.

I was surprised that evening to see him back at our door with some recovered items. The suspect had been apprehended and was in juvenile detention. It was very quick and quite unexpected! Deputy Gibson was very professional and kind; he really is an asset to your operation.

In addition, in order to refilled the ADD mendication, I needed a copy of the police report. Rebecca Hartford very kindly printed me out a temporary letter to explain that the final police report hadn’t been dictated yet, and I picked up this letter the following day. Because of her going above and beyond, we got the controlled medication refilled in a timely manner.

Both Kyle and Rebecca were amazing. In situations like this, citizens are already feeling stressed so to be able to work with such professional adn caring public servants is truly a blessing. Please pass on this letter of thanks to them.

Thank you for all you do to keep Bedford County safe!

We are happy to serve Bedford County, thank you for sending in these letters. It is nice to hear feedback on how we are doing. Happy Holidays!

Letter One Download
Letter Two Download

Sheriff Mike Brown, Board Member for NW3C shares The Briefing, which is the latest information to protect you and your family online

December 2014 News from NW3C:

Phone Scams

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Phone scammers seek to profit by tricking those on the other end of the line into giving out personal information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers or dates of birth. According to Jeff Lybarger, Fraud Complaint Supervisor for the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at NW3C, phone scams are still very common. Find out about common tactics, ways to avoid phone scams and what to do if you are a victim of one.

Pew Survey:
Online Harassment Affects 40% of Adult Internet Users

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A new Pew Research Center survey shows that a majority of adult Internet users have witnessed some form of online harassment and 40%  have been subjected to it. Find out more in this timely article.

 

Happy Holidays
from all of us at NW3C

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Wishing you and your loved ones a peaceful holiday season and the blessings of good health and prosperity.
To view the December issue and previous issues of the Briefing, please visit:

http://www.nw3c.org/News/the-briefing

 

Featured Website:

Victims of Internet Crime Empowered

The VOICE website is a one-stop resource for free information on what victims can do in the aftermath of an online crime. It also shows how to avoid becoming a victim. www.VictimVoice.org

Stay up-to-date with information of interest to law enforcement related to economic and high-tech crimes at www.NW3C.org/News

You can also Follow NW3C on Twitter: @NW3CNews

Also on Facebook: NationalWhiteCollarCrimeCenter

This project was supported by Grant No. 2012-MU-BX-4004 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice..

The National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) is the copyright owner of this document. This information may not be used or reproduced in any form without express written permission of NW3C. For questions or additional information, please contact Kimberly Williams, Communications Manager, at 1-800-221-4424 ext. 3320 or kwilliams@nw3c.org. NW3C TM is a trademark of NW3C, Inc. and may not be used without written permission.

©2014. NW3C, Inc. d/b/a the National White Collar Crime Center. All rights reserved.