Local restaurant victim of utilities scam - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Local restaurant victim of utilities scam

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JONESBORO,AR (KAIT)- Barnhill 's Buffet has been the most recent victim of a long- running scam, according to Jonesboro police.

The scam involves a phone call from someone portraying to be an employee from City, Water and Light requesting a payment from a past due balance.

According to the police report, an employee at Barnhill's Buffet received a call from someone identified as an employee at City, Water and Light requesting a pay due payment of about $900.00. The restaurant was told their services would be disconnected if they did not pay their bill. According to Jonesboro Police, the CFO gave permission to allow the transaction to be made over the phone.

"We have gotten some calls here in the recent months and weeks, the exact amount I'm not sure but enough that we want to make the community aware to be cautious of potentially getting a call," said Slade Mitchell with City, Water and Lights.

Mitchell said he has noticed similarities in the scam phone calls.

"The person is an alive person that calls and asks for an immediate payment to be made and that's counter to what we were doing in terms of how we would notify people of a past due account," he said.

Mitchell says CWL does use a notification system to notify customers of their account but their messages are pre-recorded and they also send out text messages.

"In that message it states if you think you have received a call in error to give us a call at 930-3300," Mitchell said.

He said if a customer receives a suspicious call, they should verify the call is real before making a payment.

"We can quickly access your account and give you an accurate up-to-date status on where you are with us," he said. "We just urge you not to act on these sort of requests before you contact us."

He said they can be reached at any time during the day even after hours.  

"I would just urge any customer if they are concerned about a call they've gotten to give us a call, that's what we are here for," Mitchell said. 

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