Local restaurant victim of utilities scam - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Local restaurant victim of utilities scam

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 havegotten some calls here in the recent months and weeks, the exact amount I'm notsure but enough that we want to make the community aware to be cautious ofpotentially getting a call," said Slade Mitchell with City, Water and Lights.

Mitchell said he has noticed similarities in thescam phone calls.

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

Mitchellsays 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 thatmessage it states if you think you have received a call in error to give us acall at 930-3300," Mitchell said.

He said if acustomer receives a suspicious call, they should verify the call is real beforemaking a payment.

"We canquickly access your account and give you an accurate up-to-date status on whereyou are with us," he said. "We justurge 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 wouldjust urge any customer if they are concerned about a call they've gotten togive us a call, that's what we are here for," Mitchell said. 

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