Clayton Township Police warn of "scam" targeting business owners - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Clayton Township Police warn of "scam" targeting business owners

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(11/04/13) - A Genesee County business owner is out hundreds of dollars - money she thought was going to Consumers Energy to keep her power on.

Clayton Township Police say she reported it Saturday, but after transferring about $900 to two, prepaid cards as instructed. 

Police believe the bad guys are targeting businesses.

"A male subject with a foreign accent called and said he was from Consumers Energy," said Clayton Township Police Sgt. Charlotte Brown. "When I got there, I looked at her caller ID and it did show Consumers Energy with a valid Consumers Energy telephone number. When you call Consumers Energy, they say they never made a phone call to this business."

Brown said the caller told the business owner she had 45 minutes to pay him $851 and if she didn't, he was going to disconnect her power.

Brown said the man on the phone even guided her to a gas station and told her which cards to buy and how to put the money on them.

She did.

It was immediately transferred off those Green Dot MoneyPak cards and onto prepaid American Express cards, according to Brown.

The business owner was baffled because she does owe Consumer Energy money and had worked out a payment plan. Conveniently, the man on the phone told her he couldn't access her plan.

When she finally got in touch with someone from Consumers, it was too late. Brown said she initially called, but was told she'd be on hold for 25 minutes, so she transferred the money and called back later.

The message here, Brown said, do not pay money unless you've verified with who the money is owed to and that this is the route you're supposed to be taking.

A spokeswoman for Consumers Energy tells ABC12, they would never ask a customer to pay through a prepaid card over the phone. Consumers Energy would also never put a 45 minute time limit on a payment, according to the spokeswoman.  

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