Consumer Alert: fake utility calls

Consumer Alert: fake utility calls

Scammers are taking advantage of utility customers who fell behind on their winter heating bills by calling those people and posing as representatives of companies like Dominion Gas and Cleveland Public Power.

The callers have threatened to turn off the heat unless the customer pays.

Victoria Rudd became a victim of one such call.

"I felt flu-like symptoms after I found out it was a scam. I felt my temperature went up it felt like it anyway and I felt nauseous. I really was sick. I felt violated," said Rudd.

Crooks called Rudd claiming they were with Dominion and warned that her power would be cut off right way if she didn't pay. Rudd runs a daycare center and says she got the call right as she was closing for the day.

"I am panicked at this time because Monday morning is coming. My students will be at the front door and moms will be upset, so I made the decision to just go ahead and pay it," said Rudd.

Dominion is aware of the calls and has a warning on its website reminding the public that no one from Dominion will call demanding payment.

If your account is not in good standing the company will send an official letter and work with customers on payment plans.

Rudd knows her story won't stop the callers, but she hopes it decreases the number of victims.

"They got one gentleman. Said he had a restaurant full of people and he went ahead and paid $1,200," Rudd said.

It's a reminder, not to trust that next phone call. Always call the company in question to verify what the caller is claiming.

Rudd paid the nearly $500 with one of those Green Dot pre-paid cards. Once she gave the crooks the information, her money was gone.

Click these links for more information on scam alerts from Cleveland Public Power and Dominion.

Click here for information on protecting yourself when using Green Dot.

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