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City of Buffalo Buffalo Police Department
Mayor Byron W. Brown
Commissioner Daniel Derenda
74 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

Press Release: Jan-31-2014

Home » Press Releases » Current News » BPD Alert Public of New Phone Scam.

BPD Alert Public of New Phone Scam

Buffalo police are alerting the public in connection with a phone scam in the Buffalo and Western New York area.

Businesses are being called by supposed utility companies, who report that the customer's bill hasn't been paid and service will be shut off without immediate payment. The best advice from law enforcement is to hang up on such a call. Do not call back the number, rather look up your service provider's contact information on the internet, or your latest billing statement.

"Unfortunately, for the consumer, the scam artists stay up to date on new technology, and even the caller ID may look like the call is coming from the utility company," according to Dennis J. Richards, Buffalo chief of detectives.

This type of illegal activity has been reported in other parts of the country, and state, and now has appeared in Western New York.

What sets this scam apart is that the caller insists on receiving payment from a pre-paid debit card. This allows the scammer instant access to the money put on the card - without being traced.

Generally, the power companies won't shut down your service for delinquency, without written notification to a business or home owner of the utility company's intent.

Furthermore, the power companies won't demand payment from a pre-paid debit card.

More information is available through the Federal Trade Commission's website:

http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2013/09/ftc-warns-utility-bill-scam-asks-payment-greendot-paypal-or