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Every year about this time the number of phone scams increase with everything from free vacations to worthy cause donations.
Mingled in with those robocalls are threats of utility cutoffs or even jail time if fines are not paid.
One Henryetta area resident found out the hard way that scammers are real at a cost of nearly $500.SCAM ALERT
That person was called and told his electricity service would be cut off if he did not pay an overdue bill. The individual was instructed to get a gift card from a local business and contact the caller back with the serial number.
Local Public Service of Oklahoma representative Lyle Stogner said the threatened cutoff is not a new scam and offered several suggestions how those calls can be identified.
He pointed out customers with past due balances get up to three letters in the mail with the final one giving the date when service would be terminated.
“We never call a customer and demand immediate payment within a couple of hours,” he said.
Another giveaway is asking for personal information.
“We would ask for a customer number if a person is called. We already have all the other information on file.”
PSO is part of a larger company and has no need for pre-paid credit cards or gift cards. “If a person is instructed to buy one of those, it’s a scam.”
He told anyone receiving a call from a PSO imposter to hang up then call the utility company to verify the status of their account and report the scam attempt.
The Okmulgee County Sheriff’s office has also been the target of scammers. Sheriff Eddy Rice said there have been calls made around the county stating the sheriff’s office has an arrest warrant for that person and, unless payment is made by a credit card or pre-paid card over the phone, a deputy would take them to jail.
“If we have an arrest warrant for an individual, we are going to see them in person,” Sheriff Rice said.
He urged the public to hang up immediately and call his office to report the scam.
Other scams are invoice emails and texts for goods or services never ordered offering to let the person cancel the order.