SEATTLE -- At least 15 Seattle City Light customers have been targeted by scammers threatening to cut off their power in order to steal money this week.
According to City Light, the scammers appear to be targeting Asian small businesses. They call the business claiming to work for City Light, say the account is overdue, and threaten to disconnect the business' electricity unless they get paid immediately.
The scammers are asking City Light customers to purchase pre-paid debit cards to pay them with, possibly because they don't have the same fraud-detection features as credit cards, according to City Light.
City Light is reminding customers that it doesn't shut off electricity over one late payment. Customers will get at least two written notices before that happens.
“Awareness is the best defense against con artists,” City Light Customer Service Director Kelly Enright said in a press release. “An immediate demand for payment is a red flag for fraud. Anyone who gets a call like this should get contact information then hang up and call the utility and police.”
According to the Seattle Police Department, it has not received reports from anyone who has actually fallen for the scam yet.
Customers at other utilities in the area are also being hit with a similar scam, according to City Light.