Lower Allen Township police warn of phone scam

CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – Police in Lower Allen Township have a warning about a scam involving PPL. The caller claims the power will be shut off if you don’t pay up.

The scammers have targeted both homes and businesses.

“This is unusual that we’ve gotten three or four right at the same time over the last couple days,” township police Chief Frank Williamson said.

Nikoli’s Pizza is one of the victims.

“They said that they wanted to turn off our power,” owner Jeannette Magaro said, “that I haven’t paid my bill, and of course I have.”

“We believe it’s the same person or people. The phone numbers are fairly close together. It’s an 800 number to call back on,” Williamson said.

Police said another warning sign of a scammer is if the caller is rude, pushy and aggressive.

“I just knew immediately because it happened last year,” Magaro said. “And I said, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself, trying to rip people off before Christmas.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I’m the Grinch.’ There’s just no shame in his game.”

Williamson said if you think you’re dealing with a grinch, you don’t have to deal with them.

“You know you’ve paid everything up, don’t even engage them. Hang up and call whatever company it may be, whether it’s the IRS, PPL, or one of the other utility companies, and just verify that your account is up to date,” Williamson said.

Williamson said utility companies will never demand personal information, so if a caller does, don’t hand it over.

“Credit card information, personal information, don’t put it out over the phone,” he said.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Lower Allen Police at 717-238-9676.

PPL Electric also released a statement that said: “We want all of our customers to be on guard against scammers who sometimes target businesses and residents by threatening to shut off service based on false claims of overdue bills. The callers often demand an immediate payment over the phone to avoid having their service disconnected.”

Here’s some tips from PPL on how to stay on guard and identify the scammers:

· Customers who have any doubts about a caller claiming to represent PPL should hang up and call 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775) for verification. They should call their local police department if things don’t check out.

· The majority of visits to customer homes by PPL Electric Utilities or its contractors are prearranged by the customer or through a call to the customer. If someone claiming to be from PPL Electric Utilities comes to your door, ask for proper identification that all of our employees and contractors carry. Most service employees also wear company uniforms and drive company vehicles.

· We accept payments online, by traditional mail and through the use of customer credit or debit cards. We do not accept payments by prepaid debit cards, which are sometimes asked for by scammers. If someone asks you to pay your PPL bill this way, this is a red flag.

· Customers can check their account balances any time at www.pplelectric.com. They also can use the utility’s automated phone system and access balance information by using their account number.

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