Phone scammers are reportedly posing as Liberty Utilities and NV Energy employees and asking for people’s credit card numbers.
Donna Rise, the owner of Aloha Ice Cream in South Lake Tahoe, got a call Wednesday evening shortly before 5 p.m.
“First he says he’s with NV Energy, then he goes on to tell me my power will be shut off in 35 to 45 minutes if I don’t give him a credit card,” Rise said.
“I own an ice cream store so things like that get my attention real fast.”
The man’s call came from an 800 telephone number. Rise said the scam was a giveaway because she’s not even a customer of NV Energy.
“It just makes you mad,” she said. “But I can see them pulling this on an elderly person and getting them all scared and they would fall for it hook, line and sinker.”
Janine Irwin-Webb, senior manager of customer care for Liberty Utilities, said the company was getting reports of similar phone scams in September, October and November. In those cases, phone scammers were claiming to be employees of Liberty Utilities.
The company posted a warning on its website and billing statements for customers.
“This is not us making these telephone calls. This is a scam,” Irwin-Webb said. “We do not place outbound phone calls to customers. For our customers that are a little behind on billing, we make contact with a notice on the door. At this time we are not placing outbound calls to customers.”
Stefanie McCaffrey, a spokeswoman for NV Energy, said reports of these scams have been coming in for months, usually targeting businesses.
“We would never do that,” McCraffrey said about the telephone demands for payment before electric service is turned off.
“If their power was going to be turned off, they would always get a 10 day notice first, then a 48 hour notice. We never take any money over the phone and we never send anybody out into the field to take money,” she said.