Police in Sunbury believe there is a scam going on in the city.
They said people are pretending to be from a chimney maintenance company and are trying to get residents to pay for unneeded services. The so-called scammers are including the Sunbury Fire Department in their pitch.
Police in Sunbury said someone is calling people, pretending to be from Pro-Energy Maintenance, which is an actual chimney maintenance company based out of New York state. Police said the caller claims the Sunbury Fire Department is requiring residents to have their chimneys cleaned.
The city's fire chief said that's not true.
Ercell Smith, 94, got a phone call from Pro-Energy Maintenance. Smith said the caller offered to clean the furnace at his home in Sunbury. Smith added the caller quoted him a low price, which suddenly went up when crews arrived.
"Sell me liner for the chimney, among a lot of other work for a price of $35, it's up to close to $1,800," Smith said.
When two men from Pro-Energy Maintenance came to Smith's house in Sunbury, a city employee recognized the name of the company and called police. It turns out other people claiming to be from Pro-Energy Maintenance are calling folks in Sunbury, saying the Sunbury Fire Department is requiring them to have their chimneys cleaned. Sunbury Fire Chief Mike Rhoads said it's a scam.
"The Sunbury Fire Department recommends you get your chimneys cleaned, although we do not contract to any business to do so," said Chief Rhoads.
The State Attorney General's office told officials in Sunbury that Pro-Energy Maintenance is a legitimate business, but that someone is using the name of that business to scam seniors in several parts of Pennsylvania, including Sunbury.
It turns out Ercell Smith is not one of those victims.
"It's really heart-wrenching that the seniors are pointed out, but hopefully this has a happy ending. I hope we get these people out of our city and keep our citizens safe," Chief Rhoads said.
Sunbury Police Chief Stephen Mazzeo said if you get a phone call from someone regarding chimney cleaning, you should ask for a call back number and get the company's vendor number from the State Attorney General's office.
If you feel you are the victim of a scam, contact the Attorney General's office.