In recent weeks, the Emmetsburg Police Department has received several calls from citizens concerning overdue utility bill scams.
According to Emmetsburg Police Chief Eric Hanson, the scam follows this scenario:
The caller will advise the Emmetsburg Municipal Utility or Mid American Energy customer that their utility bill is unpaid and that the person has a very short time to pay beforethey will have their utility services cut off.
"Reports indicate that the person posing as the bill collector can be very convincing to the customer thatf the need for payment must be sent immediately," Chief Hanson added.
Once the scammer has gained the attention of the utility customer, they and ise the utility customer to make purchases of "gift cards" and then return a call to the "bill collector" at which time they ask the customer for the gift card account numbers, so that the customer can quickly settle the overdue debt and avoid the shut off of utility services.
But once the accounty numbers of the gift cards are given to the phone caller, the money is gone and untraceable, and the utlity customer is out the money they spent on the gift card, with no way to recover the muney.
The Emmetsburg Police Department and the Emmetsburg Municipal Utilities want to inform and protect our citizen customers from these scams.
"Please contact the Emmetsburg Police Department at 712-852-2424 or the Emmetsburg City Hall at 712-852-4030 if you have any questions or concerns with utility scams," Hanson said.