Scam Alert: thieves target people in cold weather

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SOUTH BEND Bitterly cold temperatures have more people concerned about utility bills, and one group is using that fear to their advantage. Scammers are targeting people dealing with extreme cold.

Thieves are making calls, claiming to be represenatives from local utility companies. The scammers play off of fear by threatening to shut off utilities if a payment is not made immediately. However, there is a red flag. These so called "representatives" will ask for payment by pre-paid debit card, which a legitimate company would never do.

The scammers may also claim your electric meter is not working properly and offer to fix it on your dime.

If you recieve this call, the Better Business Bureau recommends offering to call the "representative" back. Do not return the call on the number they give you. Instead, look up the number to your utility company and call to verify the charges.

The Better Business Bureau says people have reported receiving phony emails from fake utility companies as well. These will include links that could contain a virus. Again, the best thing to do is call your utility company on a number you research, not the number listed in the email.

If you have questions or concerns, you can contact the Better Business Bureau at (574) 675-9351.

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