Using elaborate lies, scammers target Rocky Mountain Power customers
(KUTV) Have you paid your power bill? Are you sure?
Many Rocky Mountain Power customers are getting calls seemingly from the power company telling them they are delinquent.
Melissa Chavez got the call at her family's business, East Millcreek Eyewear, where she keeps the books and her mom is an optician.
Chavez says she has never been late on a single payment so she was surprised when someone claiming to be from the power company warned her that her bill was so delinquent that the power was about to be shut off.
"I'm alarmed right off the bat because you hear your power is about to be shut off and you just panic," Chavez said.
But no need to panic. Chavez keeps records and they show her power bill is paid in full.
That didn't deter the caller. He blamed a glitch that had accidentally applied Chavez' payment to someone else's account. The caller promised it would be straightened out - in a roundabout way:
"We're sending you a refund check for February and March, those are the two months that got mixed up, and you'll be getting that check, but in the meantime, to avoid your power being turned off, we're going to need you to pay us in full," Chavez says she was told.
Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson Paul Murphy says the call did not come from them. It was a scammer trying to manipulate Chavez into sending him money.
Rocky Mountain Power is certainly familiar with its good name being used to try and rip people off, but Murphy says that the elaborate lie about the funds being misapplied is a new version on the scam that he's not heard before. Still, he's not surprised.
"I've seen [the rip off] happen to really smart people, really good people, good businesses, it can happen to everyone," Murphy said.
Murphy says if anyone gets a call from the power company, or someone claiming to be the power company, they should take the information then hang up the phone and then call the power company back directly using the number that is printed on their power bill.
Call Rocky Mountain Power is exactly what Chavez did. Sure enough, they confirmed her bill is not delinquent. The caller was a crook.
Though not a victim herself, Chavez says she decided to call Get Gephardt to report the fraud in the hopes that it would keep someone else from falling for the scam.
Get Gephardt did attempt to contact the scammer using a number that had been provided to Chavez but found it to be disconnected.