Collection scam targets Idaho utility customers
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is warning Idaho businesses and consumers about telephone calls demanding immediate payment of utility bills. Idaho Power notified his office that several customers received threatening phone calls.
“The caller threatens to shut off the power unless the business immediately pays several hundred to several thousand dollars via wire transfer or Green Dot Money Pack,” Wasden said, “These calls are fraudulent. They are not coming from Idaho Power.”
Idaho Power reported that it has received repots of the attempted scam from Chinese restaurant owners in Boise, Mountain Home, Pocatello and Blackfoot.
“No one who receives these calls should send money or provide personal or financial information to the caller,” Wasden said, “These calls are an attempt to commit a criminal fraud. Anyone who has lost money to these calls should contact their local police or sheriff.”
“We advise our customers to not make payments to these callers, or disclose any personal or account information to anyone claiming to be from Idaho Power,” said Idaho Power Customer Service Manager- Maggie Brilz. “Anyone who is concerned about the legitimacy of a call from Idaho Power should just hang up the phone and call us directly at the Customer Service Center.”
Customers can call the Idaho Power Customer Service Center at 388-2323 or 1-800-488-6151 outside the Treasure Valley area.
A similar scam was reported last May, targeting Hispanic customers. The phone calls were in Spanish and also demanded bill payment. Officials say callers asked for personal information for the purpose of identity theft.