NORTH BUFFALO – North Buffalo Township supervisors and the Pennsylvania State Police are warning area residents about various scams that are happening locally.
One scam involves a caller stating they are the Internal Revenue Service and wanting the victim to get iTunes gift cards and mail to them.
State Police Corporal Chris Robbins said residents should be aware of this problem.
“Anybody calling you asking for you to go get gift cards, other than your grandson or your kid, is a scam,” Robbins said at Wednesday night’s public township meeting.
The caller will often threaten jail time if the victim does not comply with their request. Supervisor David Wolfe said he has played along with the caller just to see how far they will take it.
“I call them back, and they answer at first, and I say ‘Hey, you said I’m going to jail. I’m sitting out on my porch with my change of underwear and my toothbrush. When are you coming?’ And they get mad at me. I keep it up. The last guy did it for four-and-a-half hours, and finally they ended up changing their number.”
Wolfe reminded residents that the IRS does not call you on the phone wanting money or gift cards.
“The IRS does not call you. They do not threaten you over the phone. They are not going to collect gift cards and money.”
Wolfe said other scam calls are being reported to him.
“I just got told this by a good friend of mine. He almost was taken because they said it was his granddaughter. It was a female. They knew his granddaughter’s name. And this female said, ‘Grandpap, I’m in trouble. I need this (amount of money)’. And he was going to do it.”
Wolfe said the gentleman remembered Wolfe someone telling him about the scams, and he decided not to respond, even though the callers called him back.
“There’s one going around that they got the pastor’s name of the church. They say, ‘Look! We just had an accident. And we need this money, get these cards, or special thing,’ and people fall for it – especially the elderly. Please don’t fall for that.”
Robbins said one phone scam involved a 38-year-old man from York that scammed a Ford City 95-year-old Silver Star veteran of Iwo Jima. The victim wrote the scammer a check, which he attempted to cash at a Citizens Bank in New Stanton.
“The bank thought it was weird that he was all the way out of his area trying to cash a check from this old guy. They called the Ford City branch of Citizens, (who said) ‘Yeah we know this guy.’ Then the bank teller called his daughter, and the daughter said, ‘Oh heck NO!’ So they put the brakes to it. And they (perpetrator) denied it. I had him on bank video and his picture going through the EZ-Pass on the turnpike. It’s the same scam. They will come here from several counties away and run this scam.”
Robbins said many people will wait several days before reporting it or never report it at all. He urged residents to immediately call 9-1-1 or the State Police when it happens so it can be documented.
Chuck Henry lives on Cadogan Road. He told supervisors of an asphalt paving scam he encountered this summer.
“They approach you and say they have extra asphalt from another previous job. They quote you one price on it. Then when they lay it, they charge you by the square foot instead of the one price that he mentioned.”
Henry said what started out to be several hundred dollars turned into a thousand dollars.
“It started out at $450. Then he said he would do the whole drive way for $150. Then when he was done laying it, he wanted $350 for one patch and $750 for the other. He would really be confusing to an older person.”
Henry identified the contractor as Eddie Young from Greensburg. Henry said Young has been staying in a camper on Sisterville Road as he canvases the area and works primarily alone or with one helper. Henry said there was no contractor license number on any of his invoices or business card.
Robbins said scammers check public Facebook information or other social media to find out details about a victim. Then scammers use names or recent events gathered from social media to make it sound legitimate.