Scammers pose as utility workers

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.

creativehaircuts1 Scammers pose as utility workersShe said the scammer said they were upgrading the system and threatened to turn off the electricity unless she paid $900.

“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.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s