Utility companies receive complaints about scams

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | 2:46 p.m. CST; updated 9:37 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 16, 2010

COLUMBIA — Columbia police are investigating a scam involving two utility companies.

Several Boone Electric Cooperative customers have been complaining that they received calls from people claiming to be representatives of the utility company who were trying to collect credit information.

Customers were told that their checks had been returned or were not signed and they were in risk of late fees, according to a news release from the Columbia Police Department.

The suspects then offered to take credit card information to help the customer avoid late fees or have their service disconnected.

“The calls started yesterday, and we’ve had at least five reports between yesterday and today,” said Christi Miller, communications specialist at Boone Electric.

The calls do not seem to be in a specific targeted area, Miller said.

The City of Columbia Utilities Department reported to police their customers have been getting similar calls. The suspect claimed that the City and Boone Electric were merging and the customer did not sign their check.

“If someone didn’t sign their check, we’d mail it back or call them and ask them to come in and sign it,” Miller said. “We do not make phone calls to our membership and ask for private information. That’s our policy.”

Police are encouraging anyone who receives a fraudulent call to contact the utility company and make a police report.

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