Central Maine Power Company says hundreds of its customers have called them to report a phone scam in recent months, designed to extort money.
"A customer will receive a call from someone claiming to be from the utility saying that their power will be cut off within the next hour or two if they don't make an immediate payment," says CMP spokesperson Gail Rice.
She says while the scam has been going on for a couple of years, there's been an uptick in the number of consumer complaints received in recent months — but the utility isn't sure why.
Rice says the scammers often instruct consumers to make the payments by purchasing a cash card at a convenience store — something Rice says CMP would never do. A common line she says is to tell the customer that due to a computer glitch, their last bill wasn't paid and must be paid again.
Rice says urgent payments should only be made directly to CMP or through the company's website.