Phoenix business owner warns others of utility scam - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Phoenix business owner warns others of utility scam

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Lori Sanmiguel Lori Sanmiguel
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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Scams targeting utility customers are becoming all too common.

"I thought it was more residential," said Phoenix business owner Lori Sanmiguel. "But, apparently, they're stepping out to businesses."

Sanmiguel owns FRSTeam by Butlers, a restoration dry cleaning service.

She said she almost fell for a scam Friday after getting a call from someone with a foreign accent, posing as an APS representative.

"He gave me a 30-minute window," said Sanmiguel. "He said there was a guy, their tech outside, that was ready to disconnect."

The caller told Sanmiguel her bill was past due and she needed to go to a nearby service center to pay in cash.

Instead, she called APS and found out the caller was a fraud.

"If someone has a delinquent payment, how we deal with it is - we'll send a text message, we'll send a bill, we'll send a letter, we'll put a door hanger," said APS spokesman Jordan Karem.

He said what APS doesn't do is call demanding service center payments in cash or other forms of payments over the phone.

That's a clear sign of a scam.

"It's going to come back to them," Sanmiguel said. "I just hope it comes back to them sooner than later."

Sanmiguel is helping that process along by posting a warning and the scammer's telephone number to her Facebook page.

"I said, feel free to call them," she said. "Just, if you're angry and you want to take something out on somebody today - that's the number to call."

CBS 5 News called the number that came up on Sanmiguel's caller ID: 602-512-1535.

It's a land line and it's picked up by an answering machine with a male voice, with a heavy accent, that says, "Thank you for calling disconnecting services," before ending in a beep.

We left a message asking for a call back.

APS advises customers to be wary of callers who claim to be representatives from a utility company and threaten disconnection without immediate payment - especially if you haven't received prior notice of delinquency.

Karem said you should ask for their employee identification number and then, if the caller says they're with APS, call APS Customer Care Center at 602-371-7171.

You can also learn more about utility scams by clicking here.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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