MILLINOCKET, Maine — Police warned residents Thursday to avoid telephone scam artists who try to get credit card information or money by claiming to represent local power companies that will shut off electricity if bills aren’t paid immediately.
Pelletier Loggers Family Restaurant joined a group of residents or businesses targeted statewide when its workers reported on July 31 that a caller claimed to represent a local energy company, Millinocket Police Chief Steve Kenyon said Thursday.
Kenyon advised anyone who gets such a call to refrain from passing along any payment information and to call 911 and their local electricity supplier immediately.
“The power companies say they never require payment information over the phone like that,” Kenyon said Thursday.
Scam artists “are getting so bad that they are trying anything now,” Kenyon said. “It’s getting so bad that people don’t know it when they are getting a legitimate call — and I don’t blame them.”
A resident recently came to the police department to report what turned out to be a legitimate call from the Internal Revenue Service, Kenyon said. Kenyon wasn’t complaining about the resident’s diligence. He said he would rather see residents be overcautious than not cautious enough.
Anyone interested in learning more about how to detect scams can go to t he Federal Trade Commission’s page on telephone scams or call their local police departments.