Police are trying to warn people about a number of phone scams in the Plattsburgh area.
In one of them, someone claiming to be with a utility “Shut-off Team” calls to say the electric bill is overdue. The scammers then threaten to turn off the power unless the victim pays by credit card over the phone.
The Plattsburgh Police Department heard about the phony Municipal Lighting Department “Shut-Off Team” a couple of days ago. Sergeant Brad Kiroy said a local business got targeted. The call was from a 1-800 number, and the man on the other end said a maintenance person was already on the way to shut off the power. The business owners checked to see if they were behind on their utility payments, and they weren’t. The scam didn’t work.
Now Kiroy is trying to make sure no one falls for it. “Do not give out personal information over the telephone, especially if it’s somebody that’s called you,” Kiroy said. “Never send cash through the mail. Never use Western Union to pay for any of these types of things, or any other type of wire transfer service.” He said his team has some leads on the alleged perpetrators, but he didn’t give any details.
Meanwhile, police are also trying to get the word out about another scheme. Kiroy said Plattsburgh residents have been getting calls from people posing as attorneys. The callers tell the victims their child or grandchild is in jail, and they need to send thousands of dollars in cash to bail them out.
“That’s another case that’s currently under investigation and we’re following up on numerous leads on that one,” Kiroy said. A couple of weeks ago, detectives intercepted almost $40,000 that victims were duped into mailing. But police haven’t made any arrests. Kiroy said the two scams likely are not connected.