Long-time Waxahachie residents, J.W. and Erma Mauldin believe they’ve been victims of a recent scam.

Erma said the incident occurred at about 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, when several men in a white pickup truck drove up to the front of their residence, knocked on their door and alerted them to “smoke” coming from the back of their house.

“J.W. and I were eating lunch when there was a knock at our door,” she said. “The spokesman looked to be in his early 30s and, while he talked to us, some of the other men went around to the back of the house and supposedly checked out our house. Then, they told us that they put a new wire up somewhere and wanted to collect $500 for the service.”

She noted that a couple of the men came into the house and others went to the back of the house.

“We didn’t know but what they intended to case the house trying to find valuables,” she said. “We believe it’s people preying on elderly people and they probably saw the sign on our front door that says ‘no visitors’ and assumed we were senior citizens. I’ve had the sign up because I’ve been recovering from an illness.”

The Mauldins told their daughter Judy and her husband Larry Linville about the incident.

“After J.W. refused to give the men the money, he let them know he had Allstate Insurance and they really jumped on that,”  Larry Linville said, noting that they gave his in-laws a generic invoice without any address or phone number – just the name “Caldwell.”

“Later on that afternoon, at around 4:30-5 p.m., a local Allstate adjuster called J.W. and informed him that a claim had been filed by the name of James Fisher,” Linville said, saying he believes the initial warning about “smoke” coming out of a vent was a tactic to distract his in-laws, enabling the scammers to make their way into the attic of the house and onto the roof.

“They were doing a lot of banging on the roof of the house, I believe to make (the Mauldins) think they were doing work, but they didn’t do anything,” Linville said. “You know I read recently about families in the Dallas area that make their living scamming elderly people – it’s really sad.

“We just want to get the word out and warn people in the community, especially elderly people, about such scams,” he said.

Linville said the Mauldins called the police and a report was taken over the phone.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.