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Friday, March 8, 2019

"Creepy," New Scam Shocks Fort Thomas Police with Brazen Scheme

Fort Thomas Police Officer Rich Whitford has seen his share of scams over his long tenure in law enforcement, but the latest iteration of a phone scam had him shocked.

"They have taken it to the next level. I've never heard or seen anything like it," said Whitford. "It's scary the lengths to which these criminals are going to try and scam people out of their money." 

Whitford said that a Fort Thomas resident received a call from an out of state area code. The person on the other line said that he owed $618 for utilizing an urgent care facility and that the debt had to be paid immediately.

"I thought it was a odd but not entirely impossible," said the resident who did not wish to be named. "My college-aged kids co-op throughout the country and utilize urgent care frequently. I couldn't believe how much information they had, you'd think it was true."

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The caller had very personal information about the resident: his name, address, phone number and social security number, which made his story seem plausible. He even had his wife's name, her phone number and other family contact information.

RELATED: Fort Thomas residents targeted by internet scam artists 

Whitford said these types of phishing phone scams aren't unique. In fact folks in Fort Thomas have been the victims of crimes like this. What happened next is what raised Whitford's eyebrows.

"Once that initial call came in, we googled the number and it looked to be a scam. They said they were going to show up in person to collect, but we were pretty sure they weren't going to show up," said the resident. "We ignored it and didn't think much about it until we got a call the next day. This person called my wife and said that they were heading to my front door to collect their money." 

That's when they got a notification on their phones that someone was indeed at their door, ringing the doorbell.

"We have a 17-year old at the house alone, so we were obviously very alarmed," said the resident.

"The fact that this potentially could escalate from a phone-fraud scam to actually having someone potentially coordinating with helping to commit this crime in person is very alarming and something we want our residents to be aware of," said Whitford.

The resident immediately called police who were able to check on the teenager. By the time they got there, there was no one in sight.

After freezing all of their credit cards, they spent time with police detailing the story.

"This is new to the area and now that we know, we'll continue to investigate this," said Whitford.

"It's creepy," said the resident. "They were so aggressive. They had so much information and bullied us to the point that we felt like we had to pay this money."

Whitford said possible charges associated with this type of crime is theft, fraud and possibly organized crime. He's asking that if you have a similar experience to call Fort Thomas Police at 859-572-1238 and to share this message with your fellow community members so that they know what to look for.

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