Scam artists claiming to be utility employees target business

Local business was target of attempted scam Wednesday


NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – New Braunfels Utilities is reminding its customers to remain vigilant against scam artists seeking to collect money for utility bill payments after a business was the target of an attempted scam Wednesday.

The caller ID showed that the call was coming from Sherman Oaks, California, which alerted the business to the possibility of a scam, NBU officials said. The customer hung up and contacted NBU to confirm that his account was up-to-date.

"Typically, the callers will identify themselves as utility employees and ask for immediate payment on past due balances with credit cards or money cards purchased at local stores. We are trying to keep this issue in front of all of our customers and encourage them to exercise caution when contacted by someone using this type of tactic," NBU Communications Manager Gretchen Reuwer said. "They are counting on the customer to panic and react before contacting NBU to check on their account status. If you suspect that the caller is a potential scam artist, hang up immediately."

NBU said its representatives will not call after hours or on weekends demanding immediate payment with a credit card or money card. NBU employees will identify themselves and provide a legitimate, local contact number for customers to verify their credibility, the utility company said.

If a customer is late with a payment, they will be contacted several times by a representative before termination takes place, NBU officials said. They can call the main office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, to check on the status of their account or contact NBU Dispatch if they have a question about an after-hours phone call. The NBU Main Office number is 830-629-8400 and the 24-hour dispatch can be reached at 830-629-4628.

"We receive information almost every week about some type of scam that is being attempted throughout Texas and across the nation," Reuwer said. "Scammers are very creative in their efforts and customers should remain vigilant to avoid giving out personal information or losing money to a thief. Often scammers ask for personal account information or threaten to disconnect service if immediate payment is not made by prepaid credit or debit card. In some cases, scammers have even falsified their caller ID to reflect a utility company's name."

Customers are advised to report attempted scams to local law enforcement by calling 830-221-4100. Officials said customers can also notify the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division by calling 800-252-8011.

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