MASSENA – Massena Police Chief Timmy Currier is warning residents of an ongoing phone scam.
Over the past few weeks Massena Electric customers are reporting they are receiving phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as representatives of Massena Electric and demanding immediate payment by the customer to avoid termination of service.
These calls are a scam trying to get customers to pay the caller over the phone to avoid termination.
Chief Currier says the calls have occurred on Saturdays.
“Caller identifies himself as a representative of their utility and demands payment in excess of $500 to avoid termination that day,” he said in a press release.
Currier says the scammer tells customers that utility employees are out in the field performing terminations and they are scheduled to be terminated in the next two hours unless payment is made using a prepaid “money pack card” or credit card.
He said the scammers then tell customers that since amount owed is in excess of $500 they will need to buy two $500 cards and call back with card numbers to avoid termination
Massena Electric Superintendant Andrew McMahon is warning customers.
"These calls are very distressing. This scam is misrepresenting our good name in a scheme that has nothing to do with MED." McMahon said.
Superintendant McMahon reminds Massena Electric does not take payment by phone of any type.
“Any calls we make regarding late payment of an electric bill would require the customer to come to our offices at 71 E. Hatfield St. to make a payment,” he said.
By law, Massena Electric cannont disconnect customers for nonpayment on the weekend.
“MED has nothing to do with these predatory calls,” McMahon said, adding that any money given to these solicitors will not be credited on an individual’s bill.
"The fact that there are purposeful and malicious calls in an attempt to mislead and defraud our customers is unnerving. We are pleased that our customers have so far been able to see through these scams," said Mr. McMahon.
Chief Currier warned citizens to be very careful when taking phone calls. "Calls of this nature should raise a red flag. Reputable businesses, like Massena Electric Department do not do business this way,” Currier said. "Phone scams and fraud are prevalent today. People should avoid given any personal or banking information out to anyone over the phone that they do not know and trust."