3 new schemes starting to target people in Pittsburgh area



PITTSBURGH - Three new schemes are starting to target people in Western Pennsylvania.

"I looked down at the screen, and I realized it was this weird Antigua call, and I thought, ‘I don't know anybody in Antigua,’" said Jenny Vergara.

She didn't know it then, but she had just become the target of an international phone scheme.

The calls come from places like Antigua, Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands.

Your phone rings once, and when you call back, you are charged $20 for the call and $9 for every additional minute to stay on the line.

Caitlin Driscol of the Better Business Bureau said they have received several complaints about the “one-ring scheme.”

They have also noticed an uptick in heating and utility schemes during this cold and snowy winter.

Callers pose as your utility company, claiming your bill is overdue and your heat will be turned off if the balance isn't paid, usually with a pre-paid type of credit cards.

“They are also threatening people by saying their electric meter is broken, and they are responsible for the cost of those repairs or their services will be cut off,” said Driscoll.

Duquesne Light recently reminded customers that they do not call customers on the day of a termination for non-payment, and that they do not ask customers to buy pre-paid cards.

The third scheme involves your credit card.

Thieves are using stolen credit card information to sneak in charges of $9.84 or less.

They figure that it’s so small of a charge you will not notice it.

Driscoll said be sure to look over your statement and if you notice a suspicious charge, small or large, call your bank immediately.