Officials warn of phone scams in Newport, Jay, North Troy

in Jay/Newport/North Troy by

NEWPORT — Vermont business owners in Newport, Jay, and North Troy have reported receiving a call from a person claiming to be from the Vermont Electric Cooperative, the businesses’ electric utility, demanding immediate payment of an alleged delinquent bill.

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The caller threatens that electric power will be disconnected unless immediate payment is made.

The caller had account numbers for some of the businesses.

Authorities say these calls are not from the electric utility, and that this is a scam call. They say scammers have also used the names of other electric utilities when making these phony calls in past years.

If you receive a call from someone claiming your power is about to be disconnected, hang up.

If you want to verify the claim, call the customer service number on your utility bill.

Vermont Electric Cooperative customers may call 1-800-832-2667 or 1-802-635-2331 with any questions.

If you need assistance in resolving an actual disconnection issue with your utility, you may contact the Vermont Department of Public Service at 800-622-4496.

Scam callers frequently use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone services to place calls over an internet connection. This allows the scammers to mask the callers’ location. They are also using software that allows the callers to “spoof” the Caller ID system.

The majority of these calls come from overseas. Consumers should not respond to the calls or call the numbers provided by the scammers.

Consumers who have sent funds should contact their financial institution, the Consumer Assistance Program, and their electric utility immediately to protect their accounts.

Receipt of these kinds of calls, along with any other scams consumers receive, can be reported to the Consumer Assistance Program by filing a complaint on-line at www.uvm.edu/consumer or by calling 800-649-2424.

For more information on financial frauds, identity theft and other scams, visit the Consumer Assistance Program website at www.uvm.edu/consumer.

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