Local businesses warned of phony ad solicitation Flimflam asks aid for sheriff's office

June 10, 1993|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Staff Writer

The Howard County sheriff's office is warning loca businesses about callers who claim to be selling advertising for a sheriff's yearbook, which does not exist.

Sheriff Michael A. Chiuchiolo said callers identifying themselves

as employees of a company called Spectrum Services in San Diego randomly called residents yesterday to solicit as much as $500 per ad.

Businesses were told the ads would be published in the yearbook, and proceeds would help fight crime and benefit the sheriff department's retirement fund.

"We have no such yearbook," Sheriff Chiuchiolo said. "I've seen it before. Once they start, it's like a pattern. They'll hit Howard County for a few days, and then you'll never hear from them again."

Spectrum Services is listed in the San Diego information directory, but no one could be reached at the number. An answering machine message identified it as a carpet and drapery cleaning company.

Authorities began investigating the calls yesterday afternoon after two Clarksville residents called to verify the merits of the advertising campaign.

The callers contact prospective advertisers and attempt to sell ads by convincing residents they have a civic duty to give to a worthy cause. Advertisers who agree to write a check to "Police Crime Line" are told it will be picked up the same day by a Federal Express carrier.

Steve Kaffl, owner of Clarksville Auto Repair, said he was working around 1 p.m. when he got a call asking him to support the sheriff department's retirement fund.

"It sounded good," said Mr. Kaffl. "It sounded like the right place to put your money, until you get all the information."

Anyone with information can call the sheriff's office at 313-2150.

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