If you have received a call from someone claiming to be with Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale's office asking about a nearby crime, be wary.

Chief Deputy Randy Christian said that their office had gotten 10 complaints recently about a company which called residents, purporting to ask them about a crime that had recently happened near them. The caller would then inquire about whether the resident had a security system, and try to steer them to a company which sells such systems.

Christian said that the Sheriff's Office contacted the company about the calls. Representatives of the company said they listened to a police scanner for crime reports, noted the address, then used a computer program called Sales Genie — typically used by salespeople to prospect for customers of a wide range of products and services — and called homes near the address of the crime report. They would then refer prospective customers to a security company which sells alarm systems.

"While the service may have some value, the practice of pretending to be affiliated with the Sheriff's Office is certainly questionable and borders [on] fraud," Christian said in a prepared statement, adding that neither Hale nor his department endorse such products or services.

The company used a phone number that showed up on caller-ID systems as 205-508-3601.

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