Police: Scammers target small businesses, threaten to kill power

Don’t believe your caller id!

Small-business owners in Brooklyn are being targeted by tele-phony grifters posing as Con Edison employees who threaten to shut off electric or gas service if an “overdue bill” is not paid immediately.

Officers were handing out leaflets at the 86th Street subway station Friday morning warning residents to hang up the phone if they get a call from someone claiming to be from Con Edison or other utilities and demanding money for a past due bill to ensure continued service.

The scam seems to work because caller identification on the victim’s phone say the call is coming from the utility company, even though it isn’t.

The schemers then ask victims to head to a nearby CVS or other drug store and pay the “bill” using a pre-paid gift card.

The NYPD’s alert says utilities do not shut off service over the phone, and anyone receiving such a call should end the call immediately. If anyone has a question about their bill, they should initiate the call to the utility company.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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