North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice
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Distraction Scammers

Thursday, April 26, 2018


Law enforcement officials in Wake County have received multiple reports of scammers posing as flooring salesmen, and targeting the elderly. These crooks work as a two or three-person team. They often put the victim off-balance by pretending to have met or done work for them previously. They may also claim to have known a close family member, or to have once lived in the neighborhood. After gaining entry, one scammer engages the victim in conversation. Another brings flooring samples into the home, but eventually one of the group slips away to steal credit cards, cash and jewelry. These thieves are striking every few months, hitting one or two victims before moving to another area.

In this instance the suspects are male but another version of the distraction scam involves two women, one of them apparently pregnant and in some distress. They appear at a potential victim’s door, asking if the pregnant woman can use the bathroom. While one crook engages the victim in conversation or makes a telephone call, the other (who may not be pregnant at all) collects valuables while pretending to use the bathroom.

Distraction scammers have also been known to masquerade as plainclothes police officers looking for an escaped prisoner, or utility company employees taking indoor measurements for home energy saving projects. Consumers, and especially the elderly, should always be extremely careful who they let into their home. Remember, distraction scammers are slick, friendly, and good at their game. Don’t let them in.

If you are contacted by a scammer, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online.