BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Erie County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents and businesses about a scam in which suspects pretend to be from NYSEG and claim that victims owe an outstanding balance.
The sheriff’s department investigated an incident July 12 at a Clarence veterinarian’s clinic. A doctor associated with the business told a deputy that the office had received a phone call from a woman identifying herself as a NYSEG representative named “Amanda”. She was attempting to collect a balance of $1,400. She also stated that she would send a worker to turn off the meter if the balance was not paid.
A short time later, a balding male with a “beer gut” and a high visibility yellow shirt arrived and walked around the building multiple times but never entered the facility.
The male returned to a white Nissan pickup truck with a roof light and waited in the vehicle.
The caller advised the doctor to go to a Rite Aid location and call 1-844-335-0964 to receive further information on how to pay the bill. Rite Aid locations do not accept utility payments, the sheriff’s department said in a press release.
The deputy called the number numerous times and was either hung up on or directed to an automated answering service which mimics NYSEG’s system.
Residents are warned to not follow the scam artists’ instructions and to call the phone number printed on the utility bill to make proper inquires before making any payments. Individuals are posing as collection agents for utilities or governments and often ask their intended victims to pay an outstanding balance or fine by using a pre-paid credit card or Green Dot card- this should be an indication of a scam, the sheriff’s department warned.
If anyone observes or has had contact with a male matching the provided description who is driving a white Nissan pickup truck with a roof light is asked to contact the Erie County Sheriff’s Office at 858.2903 or their local police department.
Also, residents are advised to contact their utility provider before making any payment via Green Dot cards or pre-paid credit cards.