Crooks using spring storm for scams

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Crooks are using this month's spring storm as a way to scam people who'd like to keep their heat on as the temperatures drop.

The scammers pretend to be utility workers and threaten to shut off the power if you don't pay.

Sallie Clark owns the Holden House Bed and Breakfast in Colorado Springs. She said it's been targeted by scammers before, so when she got a message from her staff that Colorado Springs Utilities had called and said they would shut off their services in half an hour without payment, she knew the call was not legitimate.

"Utilities will give you plenty of notice, I knew my bill was paid and up to date," said Clark.

She called the toll free number back and recorded the call with a man who referred to himself as "Frank Taylor."

"Yes ma'm it says right here you have a 'red flag' on your account," the scammer can be heard saying on the recording.

"Obviously if you didn't really know and you were caught off guard by this you might be panicked enough to see if you could rectify it and make sure your utilities didn't get shut off," said Clark.

The scammers can be pretty convincing; they insist they are from Colorado Springs Utilities.

"This is Colorado Springs Utilities? CSU?" Clark asks during the phone call.

"Yes ma'm. Yes ma'm that is correct," the scammer replies.

"Yes, well I show that my utility bill has been paid," said Clark.

"And, well ma'm, it shows right here that we haven't received a payment for the past 65 days," the scammer said.

Clark ended the call without giving any personal information and called Springs Utilities directly to confirm her account was paid in full.

Colorado Springs Utilities says that's exactly what you should do in that situation.

Colorado Springs Utilities will never call a customer and ask for payment and they would not call and threaten to shut down utilities within an hour.

If you receive a call that seems suspicious, you should hang up and call your utility company directly to see if there is actually an issue with your account.

A Springs Utilities spokesperson told 11 News there seems to be a constant stream of different scams where people pose as utility workers. Click here for more information on other known utility scams and how to spot them so you don't fall victim.