Ozark Acres Water warns of fake meter reader - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Ozark Acres Water warns of fake meter reader

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SHARP COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – A man posing as a water meter reader tried to rip off an elderly woman in Sharp County.

The alleged scam happened June 17 at the woman's home in Ozark Acres, which is located near Williford.

The woman agreed to speak with Region 8 News only if her identity could remain hidden. She says she still feels unsafe since she noticed a strange man driving slowly up and down her street two weeks ago.

"It's very uneasy when you live alone," the woman said. "You don't know whether he'll come back at night or what."

She says after the man drove by her home several times, he finally parked his truck in some weeds nearby, walked into her yard and lifted the cover on her water meter.

"I never saw him before in my life," she said. "He couldn't tell anybody was here because I kept the lights out inside."

Before ever speaking to the man, the woman said she was immediately skeptical because of her experience during the ice storm.

"I had so many people that wanted to fix my limbs and wanted to come in and do my yard," she said. "I mean, we just had people hit here from everywhere."

She stepped onto her front porch and finally confronted the man, asking him what he was doing. He said he worked for the water company and could help her fix a leak for $500.

"I said well if you'll just get back in your truck," she said, "I can go in here and make a call and call the lady that I know, and she can tell me."

The man then left quickly, so the woman, still shaken, dialed the Ozark Acres Water Association office.

"I was really glad that she called us and that she didn't give him any money," said Alma Lancaster, the water office manager.

Lancaster confirmed there was no leak when she went to the woman's house and that it was all a scam, especially because the water company does not repair any personal leaks on people's property.

"So far, I haven't had any other complaints from people, so I'm hoping that maybe the word's getting out," Lancaster said. "It could happen anywhere."

The Ozark Acres Water Association has alerted its customers to be aware of the scam, while the town has also put new neighborhood watch signs everywhere to encourage residents to look out for each other.

The woman whose home was targeted was able to get a fairly accurate description of the suspect. She says that he is in his mid-40s; has red, wiry hair; wears glasses and drives an older model green Toyota truck.

"He will scam somebody if he hasn't already," the woman said.

The Sharp County Sheriff's Department is now investigating this incident. Anyone with information about the scam should call the sheriff's office at 870-994-7356.

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