Parker County authorities warned residents on Wednesday about two con artists in the area after an 89-year-old Azle woman was scammed out of almost $10,000 late last week..
The workers posed as electric company employees and told the woman that she needed to replace wiring in her attic, then charged her $9,818.40, Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said Wednesday.
After they left and the woman contacted authorities, deputies checked the house and found no new wiring in it.
“These men heartlessly and knowingly took advantage of the victim,” Fowler said in a news release. “This has to be one of the lowest acts in my book.”
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The sheriff posted a warning on the department’s website to alert residents to the con.
The men arrived at the woman’s residence in Azle on May 29, one man identifying himself as “Gregory Long” and saying he was with the woman’s electric company. The woman described the suspect as a white man, about 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall, clean shaven with dark blond hair. The suspect was accompanied by an unidentified man in his 20s who posed as his assistant.
The woman told deputies that the men informed her that the electric company had received a “sensor” indicating that she had a “short” in her home wiring.
The men did not have a work order, agreement or any form of paperwork, deputies said.
Still, the men walked into the home, bringing with them a roll of wire to further convince the victim of their scheme, Fowler said. The men went to the attic where they told the victim that squirrels had chewed through some wiring. The suspect even showed the woman a frayed wire to corroborate the story.
The men stayed in her home for about 45 minutes, and then charged the woman for their work, deputies said. They left driving a white and chrome 4-wheel drive pickup.
After the suspects left, the woman contacted officials at her electric company who told her that they had no work order at her home and that no employees had been sent there.
The woman then called deputies, who checked the house and discovered that no new wiring had been installed.
Fowler said the woman tried to stop payment on the check, but the check had already been cashed.
“Family members should warn their loved ones of schemes such as these, so they are not victimized,” Fowler said. “I cannot imagine how two men could bring themselves to take money from a senior citizen or unsuspecting potential victim.”
A neighbor of the victim told deputies that the same men came to her home and told her that they were working in the area and power might be shut off for a short time.
Fowler noted that deputies have investigated suspects who have conned people on driveway and roof work, but that men posing as electric company workers is a first in the area.
“Before any work is done in or around your property, contact the company and verify the representatives,” Fowler said. “Insist on receiving a work order in writing on letterhead and demand that the representatives provide proper identification.”
Anyone with information on the suspects in the electric company case should call the Parker County Sheriff’s Office at 817-594-8845.