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Con artist posing as FLS rep

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

A con artist has been targeting individuals who have purchased classifieds in The Free Lance–Star.

Five Free Lance–Star clients received phone calls Wednesday soliciting credit card numbers, according to Bill Smith, the newspaper’s advertising director. The individual running the scam used the classifieds to find contact numbers, and then called posing as a representative of the paper.

“The individual claimed that there had been a problem with the payment, and requested a credit card number,” Smith said.

The calls have been registering as a private number on caller IDs; incoming calls from Free Lance–Star offices will display the company name.

“A police report has been filed, and one person was able to identify the number and confirm that it came from a prison facility,” Smith said.

Because prison inmates are required to provide their inmate number when placing calls, Smith is confident that a suspect can be identified.

However, until an arrest is made, Smith urged Free Lance–Star advertising clients to use caution when taking phone calls.

“We will rarely if ever call about a credit number, so the likelihood of that happening is small,” Smith said.

In addition, any representatives calling from The Free Lance–Star will state their name and company. During the fraudulent calls that have been placed, the individual has not provided his name.

“If you have any doubt, we encourage you to ask for a name and number, hang up and call back to be sure,” Smith said.

While the investigation is ongoing, Smith said The Free Lance–Star is continuing to work to ensure its clients’ safety.

“We value our clients and we take every precaution to protect their personal information,” Smith said.

Hope Racine 540/374-5403



If you think you have been targeted, call The Free Lance–Star advertising department at 540/374-5471

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