The City of Oak Ridge is once again receiving calls from customers who have been targeted by scammers posing as city employees. The scams are currently being directed at commercial customers, but have been aimed at residential customers in the past, a press release said.
The scam begins when a caller advises the customer that their utility bill is past due and that a “technician” is on the way to disconnect their utilities. The customer is advised to pay the bill immediately with either cash or a pre-pay credit card to avoid disconnection. The caller can be very convincing and they have garnered a long list of victims across the country.
“It’s heartbreaking to think that there are predators out there taking advantage of the rush and confusion of the holiday season to defraud people of their hard earned money,” Oak Ridge Utility Business Office Manager Marlene Bannon said. “We hope that everyone will help us spread the word and that we can help our customers from becoming victims.”
Please be aware that the city does not contact its customers and request payment over the phone, the press release said. The city’s notices are sent in writing through the mail.
“Should someone contact you or someone you know claiming that a utility bill is unpaid, hang up immediately and contact your utility provider directly—not with any phone number supplied by the caller,” the press release said. In Oak Ridge, call (865) 425-3400.
“Please be aware that we will not disconnect power on Fridays or any day that immediately precedes a holiday (such as Christmas Eve),” the press release said.
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