Itasca County law enforcement agencies have received seven reports of the same type of fraud calls in the last two days. Businesses seem to be the primary target of this fraud in which the caller phones the business, purporting to be the local utility service. The caller claims the business has not paid their utility bill and threatens to turn off the electricity or natural gas to the business. To prevent this the caller directs the business owner to obtain prepaid cash cards and provide the caller with the unique number of each card. Recently, a local business lost over $1,700 in this scam.
“This is fraud, pure and simple,” said Grand Rapids Police Department Investigator Troy Scott. “If you receive a phone call like this, simply hang up. All the caller wants is your money."