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Scammers using scare tactics to steal from utilities customers

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Mar 1st, 2013 @ 10:36pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Scammers are trying to get money from Rocky Mountain Power and Questar customers by posing as customer service agents for those companies.

"These crooks are posing as customer service agents of utilities and calling and demanding payment or saying they will shut off your power if you don't pay up," said Jeff Hymas from Rocky Mountain Power.


These crooks are posing as customer service agents of utilities and calling and demanding payment or saying they will shut off your power if you don't pay up.

–Jeff Hymas, Rocky Mountain Power


Those phones calls are happening more often. Last year, Rocky Mountain Power says 180 customers reported someone trying to scam them in this way. Already this year, 38 customers have reported it, with six customers falling for it.

"We don't operate that way. We don't demand," Hymas said.

It's not just power customers. Questar Gas says this is something they're hearing about nationwide.

"Don't believe it and don't buy into it," said Darren Shepherd from Questar Gas.

Shepherd says there are things customers can do if they feel like they are being scammed.


We'll provide account numbers and other things so the customer knows this is a legitimate call.

–Darren Shepherd, Questar Gas


"We'll provide account numbers and other things so the customer knows this is a legitimate call," Shepherd said.

Asking to verify your account number is a great way to make sure you're dealing with a legitimate company. But if someone found your number in the trash or something, you can always ask for a number to call back then call the published number for whatever company you're dealing with. If you know it was a scam, call the police.

"Notice the number that comes up on your called ID. Or what number they tell you to call back at. Those little clues may help to be able to pinpoint the perpetrators," Hymas said.

So far, the police have not been able to identify the scammers.

Photos

Alex Cabrero

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