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‘We’re going to … put the furnace in!’: Aggressive phone calls target elderly in heat & AC scam

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EVERETT -- Con artists love to target the elderly, often using legit businesses to try to scam thousands of dollars from trusting clients.

“They were trying to stall, they were trying to give us answers they thought we would like,” Joyce said.

A scammer called her cell phone saying they would be at her Everett house the next day to install her new furnace. She'd been shopping for a new heat and air conditioning unit but had only been working with Evergreen State Heat & AC.

“You know we are a subcontractor and we can do Evergreen’s work because we subcontract; they are too busy,” Joyce said they told her.

A believable story but Joyce started grilling the caller with questions.

“I said, I’ve never heard of you. 'Well, we got it from the PUD, we got all the information from the PUD. We are going to come out and put the furnace in tomorrow.'"

The 85-year-old couple said they called PUD and discovered they'd been the targets of a scam. But the pushy calls didn’t stop.

“I told them to come ahead, we aren’t going to let you in, we are not going to give you any money. They didn’t come. It was the last we heard of it,” Harold said.

They are not the only ones. Evergreen State Heat & AC said they get a call every week from people confused about the same scam.

“It’s been a very very stressful situation,” owner Russ Kimball said.

Kimball can’t explain how the scammers are finding his clients.

“It could be a whole variety of things -- bad people are good at getting information,” Kimball said.

Luckily, the elderly couple didn't fall for the scheme that would have cost them at least $10,000.

“It made us angry that they do things. Like it’s scary, you are leery of everything you do after that,” Joyce said.

In some cases, con artists will dress the part and even install a faulty furnace and demand money.

So remember to always ask for a contractor's government license number.
Never give out personal information. Always research a company, Google them and call them back to make sure they are legit.

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