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Power company warns about utilities scam

Utilities Scam

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Local businesses are getting hit by scammers calling and demanding payment for utilities.

Since March, five businesses have been hit. Most of them have been Hispanic restaurants, but just last week, Love At First Bite at Snake River Landing was targeted.

Inside Love At First Bite, owner Juli Richards gets dozens of calls a day for special orders and day-to-day business, but last week, one call stood out.

"He says, 'Well, you're late on your payment, and our truck will be there in an hour and a half to turn off your power,'" said Richards.

Richards took out her credit card and was ready to make a payment.

"He did sound really professional and he kept saying, 'I'm here to help you,' so I really didn't think it was a fraudulent call," said Richards.

But before giving her information, Richards asked why she wasn't notified.

"And I asked him, 'Is that a normal thing to turn off someone's power with out giving them any notification?'"

The man told her they sent her notices that she never got. Richards became upset, hung up and called Idaho Falls Power to check her account. The power company verified her account was current and Idaho Falls Power said that's not how it does business.

"We would never demand payment, We're always willing to work with customers and set up a payment plan," said Matthew Evans with Idaho Falls Power.

Evans said the utility is aware of these fraudulent calls, but it can't do much about them.

"You know, there's little we can do except let people know that's not our practice," said Evans.

Idaho Falls Power also suggests if you get a call, save the phone number and contact the police department.

If someone from the power company comes to your business or home, you can also ask to see their identification card.

We tried calling the number Richards had on her phone, but the line just kept ringing.

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