Scam alert

RACINE — At least two local heating and air conditioning companies have heard from customers about a telephone scam from someone claiming to represent those companies and asking for money.

Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning, 2707 Durand Ave., has received five calls from customers who say they were contacted by someone claiming to be from a “sister company,” dispatcher Sarah Katt said.

The first such report came Wednesday, though it’s possible a similar call was made to a customer last week, she said.

The company is not aware of any customer who has gone along with the scam. But Keystone is worried customers could be bilked out of money and that its own reputation could be hurt.

“For one, it’s a loss of money for our customers,” Katt said. “And it’s a loss for us … we don’t know what kind of job they’re doing for the customers.”

First Call Heating & Cooling, 1301 Villa St., got one recent complaint from a customer who said the person claimed to be from “your heating and air conditioning” company to schedule a maintenance visit. They then asked for the customer’s credit card information, Office Manager Julie Venn said.

First Call worries there could be more customers who were called.

“What’s concerning is … we don’t know how many other people they’ve called and have actually gotten them to give their credit card information,” Venn said.

The Better Business Bureau and the Racine Police Department said they were not aware of the scam, though it’s not uncommon for people to try to trick people into giving them money over the phone.

“This is very concerning to us,” Wisconsin BBB spokeswoman Lisa Schiller said.

Schiller said people should be leery of anyone who calls asking for money and to write down the phone number shown on caller identification.

Ask a lot of questions and tell the caller you need written proof of any unpaid bill, Schiller said.

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