Scammers threatened to cut business's lights without payment

Posted at 10:43 PM, Apr 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-13 23:43:27-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — "It was very convincing," Michelle Keraus said. 

Keraus almost fell for the story the scammer on the other line was feeding her.

"He's like, 'Ma'am this is a serious issue, you clearly didn't mail in your payment, there's $900 due,'" Keraus said. 

It's a story that would send anyone into a panic - if it were real.

Keraus got the call on Friday at her business, Pure Barre at Zona Rosa.

The man was claiming to be from the Kansas City Power & Light company, saying that her account was past due and someone was one the way to shut off her power.

Keraus said she talked to multiple people and they became angry when she asked questions. 

She has clients and classes all weekend, so shutting off the power was the last thing she needed. 

"I actually said, 'Sure what do you need?' He's like, 'Actually you have to go a Walgreens or CVS and get an express pay card.'  And I said, 'Uh uh," said Keraus. 

Good for her to stick with her instincts.

A KCPL representative told 41 Action News they will never call you if your account is past due, they won't harass you, and they certainly won't ask you to get a debit card from a drugstore to pay them. 

KCPL told us recently they're getting more reports of scammers pretending to be them. The scammers are calling multiple businesses around the metro.

"The caller ID will read KCP&L," Keraus said, showing us her call log. 

That is called 'spoofing.' The number the scammers called from is actually KCP&L's customer service line.  They falsify information so that they hide their identity so you think someone is calling from a real business or government agency.

The scammer gave Keraus another number to call back.  That number is not connected to KCP&L in any way. 

When we called that number, which started with 844, the line wouldn't ring and the call failed each time. 

Keraus just wants others to be aware.

"It angers me to no end because the rest of us are trying to earn a living, and there's people out there that they sit behind a phone and hope someone falls for whatever scam they have up their sleeve this week," Keraus said. 

If you feel like you are being scammed, hang up and report it immediately to authorities and the company the scammers are pretending to be. 

Never give your personal information over the phone, or send money to someone over the phone or online.