HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — When the phone rang at Creative Haircuts in Hamden the caller claimed to be from the United Illuminating Company.
“I almost did believe it. They gave me a badge number. His name was Mark Williams and it sounded real. You heard beeping in the background like it was the UI company,” said Cindy Rispoli.
The caller told Rispoli she was late on her bill. but the account was paid.
“I went right online to check the bill to see that both months cleared,” said Rispoli.
“They were asking me for a credit card number. They wanted to know if I had an American Express. I said I don’t have American Express. Then I heard them put me on hold and from the conversation I realized it was a scam,” said Rispoli.
She didn’t fall for it.
“And that’s when I told him if you are really the UI company then you need to give me my account number and then at that point they hung up,” said Rispoli.
In the last two years United Illuminating says there have been dozens of similar reports with customers losing more than $33,000.00 that they know of.
“Part of the tactic is pressure. they will pressure you constantly,” said David Whidden, Supervisor of Revenue Protection and Security at United Illuminating.
Whidden of UI said you should look out for red flags because scammers sound convincing.
“We don’t give a badge number. We don’t identify by name normally. We might give a first name if they ask,” said Whidden.
UI said the callback number has the same recorded greeting.
“They are very good at spoofing so they can make it look like the call is coming from us. They actually record out wait music and everything,” said Whidden.
As for Cindy, she knew something just didn’t add up and fortunately, didn’t become a victim.
“It ruined my whole day. The stress from the phone call. The stress of trying to run a business. My day was ruined,” said Rispoli.