Bryan Cohen Jan. 13, 2014, 2:43pm

BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler issued a warning on Thursday to commercial property owners about a new scam attempting to trick them into making a large electric utility payment.

The scam occurs when a caller claiming to represent an electricity provider contacts a business owner to tell them the state is mandating all commercial properties to have a new GPS meter installed at a cost of approximately $500. The caller says the payment must be made within the 30 minutes before a technician arrives to replace the old meter, and the business will lose power if they don't pay.

The scam artist tells the business owner to send the $500 deposit via a Green Dot MoneyPak card. If the business owner complies with the instructions, the scammer can use the unique serial number on the cards to withdraw the money without revealing their identity.

"This is a new twist on an old scam, but it proves that scammers know no bounds when it comes to deceiving consumers and getting money they don't deserve," Gansler said. "Commercial property owners should exercise caution and make sure to verify any unsolicited calls asking for money before paying anything."

The scammers use spoofing technology to make a legitimate company's phone number appear on caller ID. Pepco, BGE and other local utility companies are reporting the scam among their customers.

Gansler said most reputable companies will never require a single form of payment and many utilities will not accept Green Dot payments.

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