A new scam is targeting local residents and business owners using their utilities.
Residents and businesses in various utility districts have been reporting calls that officials are saying is a scam. The caller claims to be from various utility services such as electricity and tells the resident that his or her utility is going to be shut off without immediate payment.
The city of Waynesville put a warning out to residents and businesses about the scam on its Facebook page Tuesday and so did the Dixon Police Department (DPD).
The Daily Guide talked with Byron Dudley, Laclede Electric Cooperative Manager of Communications and Public Relations, Wednesday morning and he confirmed that Laclede has received reports of the calls as well for Pulaski and Camden Counties.
Waynesville said that they are hearing that the scammers are providing information that makes the call sound legitimate.
"The scammers provide “claim numbers” and “employee identification numbers”, making it seem real. They also have an automated phone system in place when you call the phone numbers provided back," the city said on its Facebook page.
Waynesville is reporting that the following phone numbers have been allegedly associated with the calls: 1-800-620-2350 x721, 1-800- 807-8727, (573) 203-4651.
DPD reported that Gascosage Electric, which serves the Dixon area, "are receiving complaints" on its Facebook page and that citizens and businesses should beware.
"Local businesses have received calls from a 1- 800 number stating that they have a bill past due and that there electric is scheduled to be disconnected today," Dixon Police Department wrote on Facebook.
DPD said that the caller "gives instructions to go to Caseys and put the amount past due on a Green Dot Card and to call him with the card number and he would call the trucks and have them not to disconnect service."
Daily Guide contacted other local utilities to see if they are getting reports of the scam as well. The city of Richland and the city of St. Robert said they haven't had any reports yet.
Dudley told the Daily Guide that Laclede Electric will "never call" to request payment.
"All of our notification is through the mail. We don't call our customers. We send communication to them and allow them to contact us," Dudley said.
DPD said it urges "everyone to be cautious" because calling people and demanding payment is "not the normal business practice of Gascosage Electric." Residents were also warned against sending anyone a Green Dot credit card number.
Waynesville asked that anyone con- tacted by the scammers not give any financial or personal information. Additionally Waynesville is asking that people who are contacted contact the Utility Department at 573-774-5217 or the Waynesville Police Department at 573-774-2414.