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Scammers pretending to be utility threatening to turn off victims' heat

Posted at 9:42 PM, Nov 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-13 22:42:40-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Millions of people each year end up getting scammed all across the United States. There is one in the metro that is targeting people and their electric bill.

"We see these scams quite often. Lately, it's really gotten more intense," said David Mehlhaff, Chief Communications Officer for Kansas City Board of Public Utilities.

The current scheme has scammers calling people saying they need to pay their electric bill or they will turn off their heat.  

"They will get people on the phone and try to demand immediate payment," said Mehlhaff.

This is scaring people, especially when it's getting colder outside. Mehlhaff said this is happening in 22 states around the U.S. including in the metro. 

So, how do you not fall for the scam?

"Know this that utilities do not call and demand immediate payment or we are going to shut you off over the telephone. We don't do that," said Mehlhaff.

Experts say never give your personal information over the phone. 

"If you get a call from somebody and they say they are here to collect the utility bill on the phone. Hang up and call your local utility, just confirm where you are at with your bill," said Mehlhaff.

Even if the number looks legit, don't buy in.

"Sometimes these scammers use spoofer software. So the call looks like it's coming for the utility. It may be coming from somewhere else. You call that number back and it's no answer, or it's another number," said Mehlhaff.

Experts said scammers will call more often towards the end of the year.

"We really see them getting creative during the holidays season and I bet that's gonna happen again this year," said Mehl