March 1, 2013
Collection Scam Targets Utility Customers
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden warned Idaho businesses and consumers to be wary of telephone calls demanding immediate payment of utility bills. Idaho Power recently notified Wasden's office that several customers have received threatening phone calls.
"The caller threatens to shut off the power unless the business immediately pays several hundred to several thousand dollars via wire transfer or Green Dot Money Pack," Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. "These calls are fraudulent. They are not coming from Idaho Power."
Idaho Power has received reports of the attempted scam from the owners of Chinese restaurants in Boise, Mountain Home, Pocatello and Blackfoot.
"We advise our customers to not make payments to these callers, or disclose any personal or account information to anyone claiming to be from Idaho Power," said Maggie Brilz, Idaho Power Customer Service Manager. "Anyone who is concerned about the legitimacy of a call from Idaho Power should just hang up the phone and call us directly at the Customer Service Center."
Customers can call the Idaho Power Customer Service Center at 388-2323 or 1-800-488-6151 outside the Treasure Valley area.
"No one who receives these calls should send money or provide personal or financial information to the caller," Wasden said. "These calls are an attempt to commit a criminal fraud. Anyone who has lost money to these calls should contact their local police or sheriff."
A similar scam directed to residential customers was reported last May, and again, last month. That version of the scam targeted Hispanic customers with phone calls, in Spanish, demanding bill payment by providing personal information for the purpose of identity theft.