By Blake Haas
BLOOMINGTON – Scammers are reaching into their bag of tricks to convince the public to pay them hundreds of dollars for their past-due electricity bills.
According to a news release, Ameren Illinois reports scammers are telling the public their utility bill is past due, and they could face a shut-off unless the account is paid over the phone.
“Scammers will often request payment to be made with a Pre-Paid Money Card, or now with a cash app on your mobile phone,” Brian Bretsch from Ameren Illinois said. “This is a red flag. We always try to work with our customers and do not ask for payment in this manner. Disconnection is always our last resort.”
Bretsch reports scammers mainly target senior citizens, and small business owners – especially those whose preferred first language is not English.
“We want to get the word out about these scams as quickly as possible. Ameren Illinois continues to safeguard customer information, but it’s up to our customers to recognize the warning signs so scams can be prevented.”
A recent report from the Federal Trade Commission indicates one in ten adults will fall victim to a scam or fraud every year.
Blake Haas can be reached at [email protected]