CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — The Cleveland Heights Fire Department is asking residents to be aware of scammers going around targeting business owners by pretending to be employees of The Illuminating Company demanding bitcoin payments to avoid power being shut off.
According to the post, two recent incidents involved scammers demanding victims make a payment through a bitcoin ATM. One of the businesses reportedly lost several thousand dollars. In the second incident, a business avoided being scammed due to a good Samaritan physically taping a warning to an ATM.
The scammers tell their victims that they are behind on payments and must make an immediate payment to avoid a shut-off.
The Cleveland Heights Fire Department said it would like to remind residents that the electric company doesn't take payments via bitcoin.
So far, an industrial company, digital firm, bar and a church have been targeted, authorities said.
“Power companies do not make calls threatening people with same-day or weekend shut-offs. Only scammers do that,” said Sheryl Harris, Director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs in the post.
Businesses are asked to call the Scam Squad at 216-443-7226 to report any similar incidents.