A utility scam has hit Nebraska.
Authorities say utility customers have been getting calls by someone claiming to be from their electric provider, threatening to cut off power if payment isn’t made immediately.
The customer is instructed to buy a green-dot card from Wal-Mart and make a payment through an on-line service.
Beatrice Police Chief Bruce Lang says a business owner there was ripped off, for a significant sum of money.
“First of all, the utility companies don’t operate like this,” Lange tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KWBE. “And, number two, any call you get where they want you to use a green-dot service, a wire service or any of those non-traceable paying methods are a scam, plain and simple.”
Similar complaints have been fielded by the Omaha Public Power District and the Norris Public Power District. The Lincoln Electric System has also reported scam artists targeting its customers as well.
Lang says the prospect of busting the scammer and recovering the money is close to nil.
“We solve virtually none of them, because they’re non-traceable,” according to Lang. “The last scam we did ended up, we thought we had a really good lead on it, ended up in Jamaica. You try to work with Jamaican authorities. You can imagine how well that went.”
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this report.