Utility phone scam targets local businesses

Published 7:39 pm Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Area businesses are no longer safe from phone scams, as two local hotels recently reported receiving calls claiming to be Troy’s utility department.

The callers said the businesses had not paid their utility bills and power would be shut off immediately if a credit cart payment was not made.

“One of them called a sister hotel in Dothan and was told they had received the same call,” said TPD Lt. Bryan Weed. “It’s unusual to target businesses, and that doesn’t mean they won’t start calling houses.”

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Because residents have reported similar calls in the past, Weed said everyone should be cautious of any caller who asks for credit card information.

“I’ve never heard of any legitimate utility department calling and asking for credit card information. You may get a notification call, but not ‘we’re fixing to shut you off.’”

When in doubt, he suggested telling the caller that you will call them right back. Look up the number and call the utility in question. “If it’s legit and you call them, you can be sure.”

Weed said there was very little that local police can do when phone scam is successful.

“The biggest thing is to make people aware.”