Utility officials are warning thousands of customers in Middle Tennessee about a new way thieves have tried to bilk innocent people out of money.
In his 13 years working for Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, Todd Palmer said he's never heard of anything like this.
Palmer said a man called a customer, claiming he worked for MTEMC and said if she didn't pay him over the phone, he would cut her power.
So, she went out, bought a prepaid card and paid the alleged balance.
The problem is the man was not an employee, and the call was all a scam.
MTEMC agents respond to about 2,000 calls each day in the utility company's main contact center, but officials say they never call a customer asking for a payment over the phone.
"We have a process in place where you'll receive two automated calls - one being to remind you that you are late on this, the second being a call coming in saying you are subject to cut off," Palmer said.
Palmer said there is important action to take if someone tries to scam you over the phone.
"If a member is approached or asked for information, we encourage them to call us in our member service department immediately," he said. "MTEMC would never call you and say hey give me your credit card info."
Last month, thieves launched a similar scam on Nashville Electric Service customers, demanding payment of overdue bills in cash, credit or debit or they would cut the power.
In that case, investigators say the crooks were primarily targeting Asian business owners.
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