The City of Douglas wishes to alert utility customers of a reported telephone scam where the caller asks for an immediate payment through a Green Dot type account or utilities will be disconnected.
City Manager Terrell Jacobs releases the following statement:
“Although the City of Douglas does not directly call customers to collect payment, we do contract with a third party company in an attempt to collect bad debt. The City of Douglas submits a list of customers, who have already had their utility services disconnected, to a thirty party agency. This third party agency makes contact with customers over the telephone and often by mail. Citizens should also know that this third party company does not ask you to make a payment into what is known as a Green Dot account and would not tell you that your services would be disconnected (as they have already been disconnected). For customers with current utility services and are delinquent on payment, we send out a notice by mail, but this too will change within the next couple of months (more details on this will be sent to customers through utility bills).”
Customers can take further steps to confirm if the call is a scam or not by calling the City of Douglas 311 Customer Care Center, dial 311 or (912) 384-3302.
Douglas Police Chief Gary Casteloes states, “If a citizen should receive such a call, please try to capture the phone number through caller id and report the phone number to the customer care center representative. If the number is found to be illegitimate, the representative will report the number to the police. Our advice is not to meet anyone who has called you to collect a utility debt unless you know definitely the call came from Douglas City Hall.”
Other tips offered by the Douglas Police Department would be not to give out financial information over the telephone unless the caller has been verified as a legitimate company and to never wire money to someone or to an online agency that you are unfamiliar with.
“We do not want our citizens to become victim of a scam,” says Casteloes. “Citizens should always be cautious of anyone who contacts you asking for financial records and remember to verify the agency as legitimate.”
-Submitted by the City of Douglas