WILLIAMSTOWN -- Police are cautioning residents about a telephone scam that has already led to money being stolen from one unidentified local business.
A press release issued by the Williamstown Police Department on Tuesday states four local businesses have reported receiving a call from someone claiming to be a National Grid spokesperson, who said electricity to their establishment would be turned off if immediate payment was not made.
If the business agreed to pay, they would be directed to purchase a prepaid credit card available for purchase at Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid stores, which would then be used to pay the fraudulent caller.
One business fell victim to the scheme, Police Chief Kyle J. Johnson said Tuesday afternoon.
"We sent the press release to all of the local media, as well as the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce to notify business owners," he said. "The more people that we get the word out to the better."
National Grid has warned customers of the threat of payment scams before, Johnson said. A press release issued by National Grid in April 2013 outlines a scam similar to the one affecting the Williamstown area.
"It looks like it's reared its ugly head again," he said.
The release states customers have received calls from people who claim to work for National Grid, who demand payment on past-due balances and threaten that service will immediately be shut off for non-payment.
In some cases, the caller also tells the customer they may have a faulty meter that is dangerous and in need of replacing for a substantial fee.
"The electric meter is the property of National Grid," the release states. "Customers are not responsible for meter replacement costs."
National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, the release continues, but never demands direct payment over the telephone.
Johnson said the telephone calls to Williamstown residents was a number out of Utah, but no further information could be found.
Anyone with related information is encouraged to contact the Williamstown Police Department at 413-458-5733.
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