Police say businesses are being called by supposed utility companies, who claim the customer's bill has not been paid and service will be shut off without immediate payment. Police say hang up, and instead of calling back that number, check your service provider's contact information online or on your billing statement.
"Unfortunately, for the consumer, the scam artists stay up to date on new technology, and even the caller ID may look like the call is coming from the utility company," according to Dennis J. Richards, Buffalo chief of detectives. Richars notes this has been reported in other parts of the country and state.
What sets this scam apart is that the caller insists on receiving payment from a pre-paid debit card. This allows the scammer instant access to the money put on the card - without being traced.
Generally, the power companies won't shut down your service for delinquency, without written notification to a business or home owner of the utility company's intent.Furthermore, the power companies won't demand payment from a pre-paid debit card.
More information is available through the Federal Trade Commission's website: