Asheville police said a phone scam is targeting people across North Carolina who want to protect their homes from loss, but their bank accounts are hit with a loss instead.
Police said North Carolina residents have received calls from an out-of-state organization claiming to offer free and discounted home security systems supported by local law enforcement agencies.
Police warn the fake company uses names like "First Alert Group" and "Security Technologies" with callers claiming to provide the security system but asking for the victims' personal information like bank account numbers.
Victims who have given bank account numbers have discovered money has been withdrawn from their account attempts to get refunds have been unsuccessful, police said.
The calls often start with a recording stating the company is giving away free systems in exchange for yard signs then gives the victim a chance to stay on the line to talk to someone or press 9 to be removed from the call list.
Police urge citizens to not press 9 but to hang up without responding in any way. They said if people press 9 or talk to a representative, it ensures that the victim's number is valid.
Asheville police said they also never endorse any particular band of home security products.
Police did say that there is a legitimate trade name of First Alert owned by BRK Corporation that sells home smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, home security systems and fire extinguishers, but they do not use telephone solicitation.
If anyone thinks they may have been a victim of this scam, they are urged to call the North Carolina Consumer Protection office at 1-877-566-7226 or 1-919-716-6000.
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