State rep warns of telephone scam - WNEM TV 5

State rep warns of telephone scam

Posted: Updated:
MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

Local residents should be wary of a new telephone scam involving callers claiming to be from utility companies, warns state Rep. Jim Stamas.

Stamas, who represents Midland and Bay counties, said the scam artists call residential and business customers threatening to disconnect their electrical service unless immediate payment is made.

The caller then instructs customers to send money through a prepaid card or online payment service, such as GreenDot or PayPal, in an attempt to defraud people. The scammer's caller-ID is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company.

"If anyone receives a similar call, they should immediately hang up and call the utility company's phone number found on their bill to determine if the earlier call is legitimate," said Stamas, R-Midland. "Michigan utility companies will accept a variety of payment methods, including online and in person, and they are willing to work with customers to avoid shutoff. It's important to verify that it is, in fact, your utility company before authorizing any type of payment."

Additional tips on avoiding utility fraud are available on the Michigan Public Service Commission website here or by visiting the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.

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