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Phone scam targets Hays' businesses

9/2/2014

Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

Several businesses in and around Hays have been contacted by phone-scammers in recent days, claiming to be Midwest Energy and threatening to cut off electric service within minutes unless money is wired to them.

"These scammers target businesses at their busiest times of the day, which puts pressure on business owners," said Michael Sadeghi, Midwest Energy's director of customer service. "These scammers have gotten more sophisticated recently, using spoofing technology to make caller ID show the call is coming from Midwest Energy, when of course it's not."

During the calls, the scammers demand payment by wire or with a pre-paid cash card, or utilities will be shut off in as little as 45 minutes. The scammers instruct business owners to make a wire payment transfer online, or instruct them to purchase a pre-paid Green Dot cash card, and then pass the card's account information to them.

"Midwest Energy doesn't do business this way," Sadeghi said. "If you get a call from someone saying they'll cut off your utilities, just hang up and call us directly at (800) 222-3121 to verify that person's identity."