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loraquilts

UTILITY SCAM ALERT -- Do not ignore

12 posts in this topic

Hello all,  I just wanted you to be aware of a scam that I almost fell for. 

 

Last Friday I received a call on my business phone from someone claiming to be from my local utility's disconnection department.  He stated that as a courtesy, he was informing me that he had received orders to disconnect my utility service today.  He then gave me a phone number to call to "settle my account" and avoid disconnection.  The phone number is 888-324-2775 x204 or x 205. 

 

I called the number and spoke to "Mike" who informed me that unless I paid the past due balance, my utility service would be terminated today.  After repeatedly telling "Mike" that I am current on my bills, did not receive any kind of late notice or shut off notice, and that there must be an error on his part, he was no help.  I asked to speak to a supervisor and was transferred to "Kevin" who gave me the same run-around.  Using my fiancé's phone, I informed "Kevin" that looking at my bank account, I could see that the payments were made as a direct draw from the utility company's website.  He "reviewed" my account and stated that it appeared the funds had been applied to the wrong account.  He could turn the matter over to the claims department and they would review my case, but that would take three business days.  Unless I cleared the passed due amount, my utilities would be shut off today -- the truck was already in route.  The passed due balance was nearly $2000 and the minimum amount due was close to $1500, which had to be paid within the next 45 minutes to avoid disconnection. 

 

I won't bore you with the hour and a half "discussion" I had with this man, but suffice it to say that I was in a little bit of a panic that my utilities were going to be shut off.  I decided to go ahead and pay the minimum amount due because I couldn't afford to lose five days with no utilities.  Ugh!  heavy sigh.  I told "Kevin" that I would go to the local utility office and pay the amount. 

 

He told me that I could do that, however, since the payments take 24 hours to register in the system, my utilities would still be cut off and when reconnected, I would have to pay a reconnection service fee.  By this point, I was beside myself. 

 

He told me that he could divert the truck to another house and that would give me time to make the payment.  In order for the payment to be processed immediately, I would have to purchase two RELOADIT cash cards at the Vons that was near me.  He even knew exactly which isle of the Vons had the cards and where they were displayed.  I was to purchase several cards to get to the amount I needed to pay and then call him with the numbers on the back of the card so that he could call the driver and stop the disconnect. 

 

After I got off the phone with him, I called the utility company.  I did not have any past due balance and my account was in good standing.  There was no disconnect notice issued.  This was a scam!  My utility company told me that they knew of this scam and that the scammers focused primarily on small business owners and some residential customers. 

 

Red Flags I should have noticed....

1.  When first called they asked if this was the number to Morrow Fabric Services, my business name.  I do not have my utilities registered in the business name because I operate out of my home.  When I asked about that, the caller simply said, "Oh yes, I see that you run your business out of your residence."  How would he know that???

2.  I always pay my bills on time and through the utility company's electronic website to ensure that they are applied directly to my account.

3.  I never received a late notice or a disconnect notice either in the mail or on my door.

4.  After acknowledging that the utility company had misapplied my payments, it could still not stop the disconnect order.

5.  I couldn't pay for any late payments at a valid utility company location due to the processing time.

6.  He knew my current location.  He used GPS tracking on my phone and new which supermarket was closest "to my current location".  He knew that I was not home, that I was driving, and that I was not near a computer and therefore could not verify any of the information (or so he thought -- I used my fiancé's phone).

7.  Biggest red flag of all -- the payment had to be made via cash cards.  He wouldn't take a credit or debit card.

 

NEVER pay for anything with a cash card.  NEVER give the cash card number to anyone.  Once you have done so, your money is gone and you CANNOT get it back! 

 

Fortunately for me, I did not purchase the cash cards or give the caller any money.  His scam almost worked.  The elaborate details included in the scam were very convincing.  I was in a panic at the thought of having my utilities off for nearly a week until someone "reviewed my case". 

 

According to my utility company, these scammers focus on small business owners and some residential customers.  I know many of you operate your quilting business out of your home and just wanted you to be informed of this elaborate scam. 

 

Please share with everyone you know.  I would hate to see these scammers successfully swindle anyone out of their hard earned cash. 

 


Lora.

Lora in California -  Ultimate I with IntelliStitch and IntelliQuilter.  The Thimble Bee http://www.thimblebee.com

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Thank you. Good to know. Very interesting. Zeke.


C9A05C30E468F98BDBF3AA2DFD951ECF.png

by the hour.........................

APQS Ultimate I/Compuquilter

Millennium

ztrbrg@yahoo.com

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Sad part is, a lot of people DO fall for these scams and find out after it is too late.........Thank you for the warning and the reminder...........we get sooooo many junk calls on a daily basis...........most we don't even answer, but now and then we do, as we have missed legitimate calls............I wish all businesses would put their name on the caller ID and not just a number.............if we don't recognize a number, we usually don't answer.......we let the machine pick up............most times, there is no message left either.  


Linda B.       :rolleyes: 

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That is so scary! I almost fell for a delinquent tax scam. Then remembered you must receive written notice then called my accountant. ( brother in law )


Betty Ann

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My oldest daughter received the same type of call from the supposed IRS, this week.  They told her she owned $600 that had to be immediately paid, or it would be pulled from her checking account.  She was smart enough not to pay, and called to speak with us.  We told her it was a scam.  Unfortunately later in the day, her friend at work fell for the scam, and was taken for $700.  Hopefully it can be recovered from her credit card company.  

 

Another scam is that your grandchild calls to say they are in jail and need some amount of money immediately.  They do not give a name, and play you for getting information to make you think it is someone in your family.  

 

We all need to be careful whenever being asked for money over the phone.  Be safe.

 

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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my name and number have been "spoofed".  this means the caller has used what I understand is readily available software to make it appear on your caller ID that someone else is calling..this is scary as what you see on your caller ID may not be the person or business that it says....so use caution folks...also if the scammer asks for money or access to your accounts or anything else...don't give it unless you verify that it actually is that company or person (and not be asking the caller).  The other day, I got an email saying that my credit score has changed and to clink on the link attached to the email.  I did not and will check with my bank regarding this email...the email was not from bank...actually I really don't know where it came from as it did not say.  Lin

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We recently had people going door to door in a company uniform saying they were checking on TV satellite service and had had reports of poor service in our neighborhood and could he come into the house and check the strength of service. I told him no and then called the local police department and was told that they were aware of the scam and did not know why the people were trying to get into homes. The only advice the police department gave was not to let them in. I wonder how many older senior citizens were convinced to let him in.

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It is crazy how convincing these scam artists are.  My sister, who is about as savvy as they come, was almost duped into going to the courthouse in the middle of the night to bail out a 'friend'.

 

Carol

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Even on Amazon. My husband was going to make a purchase. The details said to email the seller before ordering. My husband did and they responded by telling him to pay for the item by purchasing an iTunes card and paying with that. He did not purchase the item and notified Amazon.

Deb.


 

 

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They can be very convincing. I always tell them I'll have to call the company back and do not use any number they give me. Sometimes I just play along, like I really believe them. I figure, they are wasting my time, so I'll waste theirs. The time I lead them around my their nose is less time they'll have to scam someone else! Sometimes I just feel like messing with people for doing this. Then I lower the boom on them and tell them "Thanks for playing!" One guy threatened to kill me! (I told him he had a long way to go since he was calling from the Carribean!) Also told me to bring it on because most of my neighbors are armed! Laughing at them doesn't win you any friends-hahaha! Can't tell I was a Deputy Sheriff, right?


Merry Jo

Merry Jo Rembold, Julian, CA

APQS Sales Representative

Millie & Quilt Path

Facebook: Creative Quilting by Merry Jo

Merryjorembold.com

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This needs to be reported to the FTC.  They Do Care, the Do Help shut these jerks down and in some cases may even recover part of the $$ a person waqs taken for.

 

Also report them to the FCC It doesn't take b ut a few min. and when an email, be sure it has the header enclosed.

 

I'm Really Glad you called your utility Co. to check this out.  Good for you!

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