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Electric "shut-off" scam hitting NE Ohio consumers

Illuminating Company issues on-line warning
Posted at 11:31 PM, Oct 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-15 09:16:14-04

Electric users in northeast Ohio report they are being called by con-artists posing as Illuminating Company employees, who are threatening to shut-off their power if they don't quickly pay-off their balance.

Cleveland Conceal Carry Courses business owner Kim Rodecker said the caller told him an Illuminating Company crew was on the way to his Memphis Avenue business, and would be there to shut-off his power within an hour.

"With this courtesy call we're telling you that we're going to be there and we're going to be shutting your power off," explained Rodecker.

"I told them I had just paid the bill three weeks ago. There's no reason to shut it off and I have proof that I paid it."

Rodecker said he was instructed to call another number so he could pay-up, when he protested, the caller finally hung-up.

The Illuminating Company told News5.com the "shut-off scam" is hitting consumers across the country, so much so it posted a warning on its website.

The con-artists are asking consumer to pay-up by credit card, gift cards or green dot cards, making it nearly impossible to trace where the payments are going. 

The Illuminating Company said it would never inform a consumer about a shut-off notice by phone, and would give customers plenty of opportunities to get current with their accounts.

Still Conceal Carry Courses co-owner Mark King believes power companies should do more to bring the con-artists to justice and determine where they are getting consumer phone numbers and information.

"You'd think the power companies would be more cognizant of the problem and trying to fix it, and find out who's doing it," said King