The caller said the business owner owed more than $1,800 in past due fees to the utility company. If the business wanted to avoid having its power turned off, the man said, the owner would have to send minimum payment of $1,000—using a PayPal prepaid card.
The business owner thought this was a scam and contacted Orange & Rockland. The utility company confirmed those suspicions.
The Clarkstown Police Department is advising all businesses and residences beware of any scams like this. If you feel that you have received a phone call, letter or email, that appears to be out of the ordinary, please contact the police as soon as possible.
The scam—with its threat to shut off service for unpaid bills—is identical to one that swept Rockland County last summer, as O&R reported on its website.
"If you are contacted by someone who says they represent O&R and you wish to verify their identity, either ask for their photo ID card, if they are at the door, or call O&R at 1-877-434-4100 to verify their identity and the nature of their business with you. Our employees are happy to comply with an identity verification request.
"Remember, when in doubt, hang up the phone or break off contact, and call O&R at 1-877-434-4100 to verify that the person you are dealing with is an O&R employee conducting legitimate business," O&R says.