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Attorney General Warns Consumers and Businesses to Beware of Phony Electric Service Disconnection Calls

CONTACT: Jason Duquette-Hoffman, Program Coordinator, (800) 649-2424

May 31, 2013

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell is warning electric power consumers of an emerging scam. The Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program has received reports of fraudulent calls to Vermonters from individuals claiming to represent a power company and threatening imminent disconnection of power if funds are not sent immediately. These calls appear to be targeting businesses in particular and are not actually originating from a utility. If you receive a call from someone claiming your power is about to be disconnected, hang up. If you want to verify the claim, call the customer service number on your utility. If you need assistance in resolving an actual disconnection issue with your utility, you may contact the Vermont Department of Public Service at 800-622-4496.

This scam, like other common telephone frauds, appears to be using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone services to place calls over an internet connection which will mask the callers’ location. Consumers should not respond to the calls or call the numbers provided by the scammers. Consumers who have responded and sent funds should contact the Consumer Assistance Program, their electric utility and their financial institution immediately to protect their accounts. Receipt of these kinds of calls, along with any other scams consumers receive, can be reported to the Consumer Assistance Program by email at consumer@uvm.edu, or by calling 800-649-2424.

The Attorney General's Office is reminding consumers to be wary of any calls they did not initiate that solicit funds for any purpose. Consumers should never give out personal or account information to an unverified source. For more information on financial frauds, identity theft and other scams, visit the Consumer Assistance Program website at www.uvm.edu/consumer. Consumers can also get regular updates about scams by following the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program on Twitter @vtconsumers, or by subscribing to our monthly “Pure Vermont” e-newsletter (email cap@atg.state.vt.us).

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