The Board of Public Utilities today warned customers about a phone scam targeting some of the utility's customers.
According to BPU spokesman David Mehlhaff, a few BPU customers have received calls that look like they are from the BPU Customer Service number, 913-573-9190, impersonating BPU personnel trying to collect money on delinquent utility payments.
The person asked for personal information, including credit card information, to help pay an unpaid bill, BPU officials said. The person told potential victims if the information was not given, their electricity would be shut off.
Mehlhaff said the BPU does only automated phone calls to residential customers behind in their payments, not personal phone calls.
“We do automated call outs to residential customers reminding them of any past-due balances but we do not ask for credit card information during those calls,” Mehlhaff said. “There are phone apps available that allow people to enter another person’s number so when you call someone, your number doesn’t show up but the number you inserted does.”
He said this scam has just started to surface, with a couple of customers calling about it today, and one customer came into the BPU lobby about it. One person called the BPU to tell them about the phone call, and that person didn't even have a customer account with BPU, he said.
Mehlhaff said another phone scam hit the BPU in January 2009, and one was trying to defraud Independence utility customers earlier this year.
He stated that BPU has a department that collects payments on delinquent commercial accounts. However, those BPU employees drive a BPU vehicle, wear BPU identifiable clothing and have BPU identification credentials on them.
Anyone who may have been the target of this phone scam or any scam may contact the BPU or the police. Mehlhaff said the BPU is working with the authorities to address this issue.