Cornelius Police warn residents of new phone scam

CORNELIUS, NC (WBTV) - The Cornelius Police Department is warning the public that scammers want you to go to the store, buy a prepaid debit card, then read that card number over the phone to pay off "debt."

Police Lt. James Quattlebaum told WBTV on Friday the scammers are posing as city employees, police employees and utility workers. Quattlebaum says the scammers are telling unsuspecting victims to pay the debt immediately.

"No government agency is ever going to call you and ask you to purchase a prepaid debit card to pay for your outstanding debt," Quattlebaum said.

Police say there isn't a specific demographic these imposters are going after, meaning it could be you.

Quattlebaum says if receive a strange call similar to the described scam, you should call Cornelius Police at 704-892-7773.

Below is the official warning from Cornelius Police Department:

The Cornelius Police Department is warning residents and business owners of a recent phone scam in the area.  Numerous victims have reported receiving phone calls from representatives from a government agency, law enforcement agency, or utility company making claims about past due tickets, warrants, or past due balances.  The caller then tells the victim to purchase a pre-paid debit card with the amount due and read the number off the back of the card to avoid being arrested or losing utility service.  Once the money is taken from the victim's bank account, the bank will not refund the money since the money was voluntarily given away.  This is a scam and the suspect's claims are fraudulent.

If you are contacted by anyone claiming to be affiliated with a municipality, government agency, law enforcement agency, or utility company telling you to pay with a specific pre-paid debit card, do not give them any information or comply with the caller's request.  If possible, write down the caller's phone number and alert the Cornelius Police Department at (704)892-7773 or your local law enforcement agency.

 Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.