Avon police are working with Connecticut Light & Power to investigate a nationwide spoofing scam targeting businesses in town.
In the scam, the caller impersonates a power company employee calling about a supposed delinquent bill, Avon police said in a press release. The scammer tells the business that CL&P will shut down power to the building in 45 minutes if the company does not pay the outstanding balance immediately.
Avon police are investigating eight complaints dating back to the beginning of May from local businesses who received one of the scam calls.
In the scam, the caller uses a technique called spoofing that disguises the phone number so that shows up as a real CL&P phone number in caller ID. The scammer then instructs the business to purchase a pre-paid Greed Dot Card debit card at a nearby CVS to make the payment. The card "cannot be tracked as to where the funds are paid to," police said in a press release.
East Windsor police recently reported a similar spoofing scam targeting East Windsor businesses, costing them thousands of dollars when they fell for the ploy of the CL&P impersonator(s). CL&P is aware of the scam, which Northeast Utilities, its parent company, said is happening nationwide.
"Unfortunately, this is a persistent issue we are seeing across the country, with scammers trying to take advantage of utility customers by misrepresenting themselves as employees," Penni Conner, senior vice president and chief customer officer at Northeast Utilities, said in a statement. "We will continue our proactive outreach to remind customers to never give out their personal financial information over the phone."
Police caution businesses that the scammers are able to tell them their exact account numbers and balances, making the call seem authentic.
Northeast Utilities urges customers to call its customer service department at 800-286-2000 if they have received a suspicious call of this nature or to contact police.
The Avon police urges victims of scam calls to contact the department to file a report at 860-409-4200.