Scam uses LG&E's name to target utilities customers - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Scam uses LG&E's name to target utilities customers

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Authorities say someone has been trying to scam some dough from a local pizza restaurant -- and not the kind you make with flour and water.

Chubby Ray's in Jeffersontown is known for pizza, but a troubling call came in on Monday during a busy lunch time.

"My manager comes back in the office kind of panicked and says LG&E was on the phone and they were going to turn off the power in the next hour if we didn't pay our bill," said Ray Perkins, the owner of Chubby Ray's.

Perkins then took the phone and talked to the person, who he says had a foreign accent. Perkins says he auto-pays his gas and electric bills which for two months is $5,500.

"What really seemed odd is that they insisted I pay them now or they'd turn my power off," Perkins said. "So I started thinking, 'You know what? You called me. I didn't call you. How do I know you are even LG&E?' They hung up."

LG&E says it's aware of the scam that periodically pops up targeting utility customers across the nation. The company says it will never call and ask for credit or debit card, or personal information. The Better Business Bureau is also aware of these bogus calls.

"They can target private businesses," said Bruce Gadansky of the Better Business Bureau. "They can target individuals in their homes. It's a good thing for everyone to know how it does work when it comes to turning off your utilities and making your payment on time."

LG&E says it does make computer-generated calls to remind customers if their payment is late, and the call includes an option to select payments by phone. But as an extra precaution, you can always speak directly to an LG&E employee. Perkins is just glad he realized his call was a scam.

"With the economy like it is today, people become more desperate and will try different ways of ripping you off," he said. "So, you've got to be on your toes all the time."
 
Perkins' caller ID shows a number for a real power company not connected to the scam. The Better Business Bureau says scammers use Caller ID spoofing, a technology that displays a legitimate phone number even though that's not where the call is coming from.

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