‘Tis the season for scamming.

December 15, 2014

By Allison Scarbrough. Contributing Editor.

HART — After a utility bill scam was reported earlier this month in Mason County, now Oceana County law enforcement is receiving similar complaints.

Hart Police Chief Dan Leimback said he has received two complaints today, Dec. 15, of an apparent phone scam that involves callers fraudulently claiming to be City of Hart employees seeking credit card numbers to pay delinquent utility bills in order to avoid shut-off.

Leimback said the phone number the scammers are calling from is an 888 number, and residents and businesses should not give out any information to these callers. The two complaints that Hart police received Monday were from local businesses that the scammers attempted to victimize. So far, no one has been scammed, the chief said. The callers threaten to turn off the location’s utilities if the victim does supply their credit card number.

The chief encourages residents and business owners to call the Hart Police Department at 873-2488 if they receive any such calls.

A similar situation arose in Mason County just over a week ago, Dec. 4. Mason County businesses were getting calls from individuals representing themselves as Consumers Energy and accusing businesses of not paying their bills.

In some cases, the scam artists requested that the business call an answering service they had set up and had specific information about the business. They were asking businesses to pay their bills using money transfer cards. Mason County law enforcement has urged business owners to call 911 if they are contacted.

Similar incidents were reported in Mason County the evening of Dec. 4, but the scammers made a bolder move. Two males in a white van were approaching homes in the Juniper Hills area in Pere Marquette Township asking residents for their gas bills as a ruse to gain entry into homes, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office reported.

This story is brought to you by Springstead Law Offices, with locations in Hart and Fremont, 231-873-4022 (Hart),www.springsteadlaw.com and Carter Lumber, 2323 U.S. 10-31, Ludington, 231-757-9000;www.carterlumber.com.



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