Burning house scam - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Burning house scam

September 24, 2002

Albany -- Con artists are preying on customers outside stores in Albany. Complaints have been called to city leaders about a family asking for money, because their home burned. But that family seems to disappear whenever Police or store owners want to ask them questions.

The Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse in Albany is one of the stores where this family has been seen asking customers for money outside the front door.

Loss prevention and safety specialist Chris Savage says they have noticed a big increase in the number of panhandlers this summer. He says customers can do a few simple things to keep themselves safe. "Make themselves as visible as possible. Be aware of their surroundings, who is approaching them. Take a look around before they get out of their car, take a look around as they are approaching their car. Things like a whistle. If they are approached and the person won't leave, get help."

Families asking for handouts have also been reported outside the Food Lion grocery store on North Slappey. Store owners say it's best for everyone if you turn down people asking for help in business parking lots.

Savage said "Say no thank you. Get in your car, although as hard as it may be, sometimes you have to do that."

The Albany Fire Department has tried to contact a family asking for money, saying they lost everything in a house fire. They say this is a con job.

posted at 3:52 by jimw@walb.com