Williams: Phone solicitation a scam

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

It may be the season of giving and receiving, but Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams warned residents in the Andalusia area this holiday season should beware of persons caught up in only receiving - conning people out of money, that is.

According to Williams, either a person or a group of individuals has been assuming the police chief's identity and the Andalusia Police Department, while soliciting phone calls for money.

"I started getting calls, and probably the first one I got was maybe two weeks ago," Williams said. "In the last week, I've had four to six other inquiries about (the fraud). (The complaints from the callers) informed me they have received solicitation for funds, and the person (or groups of people) either identified themselves as Chief Wilbur Williams or stated they were soliciting for the Andalusia Police Department."

Williams added several organizations statewide solicit calls for funds aggressively during the year, but APD does not currently have a program for soliciting funds.

"Some organizations do carry out aggressive telephone solicitation during the year," he said. "The Fraternal Order of Police, the Alabama State Troopers, and the Police Benevolence Association (do carry out such solicitations) on a statewide basis. But (the receivers of the fraudulent calls) were adamant that whoever had called them specifically said they were with the Andalusia Police Department - that is absolutely not the case.

"We are not participating - no one should be representing themselves as soliciting for us, either me personally or the department. My concern is there might be someone around here - this time of the year being a susceptible season of giving - maybe playing on (their charitable hearts)."

All victims of the recent, unauthorized calls are urged to call the department, added Williams.

"We don't have any leads at this time," he said. "The only thing is one person (the phony caller) called a friend of mine, who knew it wasn't me. But he hung up before asking any questions and getting any information from the caller.

"What I'd like to have is anyone that has decided to participate in the (phony) contributions - to anybody representing me or the police department - to please call me," he continued. "If they have any information, such as an address or post office box, on where the funds are being sent to, to follow-up with us on it so we can see what the deal is."

Anyone with any information regarding the fraud, or any other frauds, can reach Williams or representatives from the APD by calling 222-1155.