ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles Police Department is warning businesses of a utility scam that has targeted at least two establishments in recent weeks, police said in a news release this week.
Someone purporting to be with the city's electric utility reportedly tried to bilk a newly opened business out of $800 by telling the owner his bill was overdue, according to the release. The owner told police the caller, who went by "Nathan," asked for a credit card payment over the phone and provided a reference number to try to legitimize the scam.
He did not fall for the ploy, police said, noting a Richmond, Va., area code on the caller ID was "a big red flag."
Police said a similar incident was reported within the last week by another business.
"The city began to see this scam last year, and municipalities across the state and the country have been targeted," the release states. "Different variations of this scam have threatened electric shutoff and demands for payment via Green Dot Money Paks and PayPal."
If the city were to contact a customer, police said, it would be from a 630 area code. Also, the city's electric utility does not contact customers by phone to make payments and does not use credit card billing by phone.
Questions about the status of an account should be directed to St. Charles' Utility Billing Department. Call 630-377-4426 during normal business hours.