Elderly Hartford Resident Victimized

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By Tammy Moore Teague

Approximately two weeks ago, a 92 year old Hartford resident was victimized by an out of state scammer. Mary Phelps was the random target of Missouri con-man, John Deckard.

Deckard knocked on Phelps’ door, and asked about work she needed done to her home, particularly tree trimming. She inquired about what he would charge her to perform the work, and she agreed to his quoted price of $48. That’s was not what he ended up charging her, however. In the end, Deckard handed Phelps a bill in excess of $6,000. Trustingly, Phelps paid the man. Unbeknownst to her, he had not done some of the work he had charged her for including “putting a clear coat on the roof.”

Unfortunately Hartford Police Chief Keith Dedmon was unable to pursue Deckard criminally. Prosecutors agreed that since Phelps paid the man, no law had been broken and therefore it was a civil matter.

Dedmon commented on the importance of towns like Hartford requiring work permits. Unfortunately, at this time, they do not. “I have been pushing for this for three years,” Dedmon said. “When a work permit is required, workers must go to city hall and provide documentation. If work permits were required in Hartford, I could have pulled in and asked why they didn’t have one.”  Permits protect the citizens and ensure safe workmanship.

Unfortunately, Phelps hasn’t been the lone victim as of late. Another Hartford resident fell victim to a phone scam a few months back. “A caller pretending to be with the FBI called this gentleman and told him his credit card number had been stolen, and that they needed to come to his home and confiscate the card.” And in fact, they did.

What’s worse than these two kind, and unsuspecting members of our community getting ripped off? It happening to one more! So please be aware these things are happening in our area, and be vigilant. If you are in doubt, contact local authorities and seek assistance.

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