Local utilities warn customers about telephone scams

(Photo: Benton PUD)

Local utilities are warning customers that someone is making phone calls locally, pretending to be your power company, and demanding payment for past-due accounts.

Karen Miller with Benton PUD says if you get a call that seems suspicious, “Just hang up and call your utility. You should not use the phone number that shows up in caller ID, but look up the number of your local utility and call them up and ask them.”

She says they’ve received a few calls from customers recently who are checking to see if a call they received was legitimate, and they avoided becoming victims of scams as a result.

“Utilities just don’t work that way,” Miller said. ” If you get a rude call, just hang up. They are very persistent, they’re very demanding, and they sound very believable.”

Scam artists will generally demand that you make a payment over the phone with a Green Dot, iTunes, Google Play, or some other type of gift card that you won’t be able to retrieve your money from once you realize it was a con.

If you do end up giving money to a scammer over the phone, contact your local police department and file a report.