INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued a consumer alert Friday about a new scam in which callers pretend to be utility company employees asking for payment on delinquent bills.
Zoeller's office and Indiana utility companies received reports about calls notifying homeowners of utility bills that were past due. The callers refuse to accept traditional forms of payment like credit cards and checks. Instead, the scammers ask the customers to buy a prepaid debit card and call them back with the PIN number.
"Criminals are using easily accessible prepaid debit cards to take victims' money and avoid being traced," Zoeller said. "This form of payment is just like giving cash - once you hand it over it's gone. As the weather begins to heat up consumers should be on alert as scammers will try to use threats - like utility disconnection - in order to con you out of your money."
The scammers use caller ID spoofing technology, allowing them to hide their phone number. The scammers may use the technology to display the number of a local utility company, when the scammers are actually calling from another state or country.
Utility customers with delinquent accounts will typically receive multiple notifications, including written notice, from a utility provider over the span of several weeks prior to the disconnection of services.