Shawnee police detectives are warning area residents about an electric bill scam after several people were scammed out of money.
Detective Ethan Rieves said reports of similar scams involving OG&E imposters have been reported in the Oklahoma City area as well.
Rieves said the caller claims to be from OG&E and tells the person they are calling that they have 24 hours before their power will be turned off because they are behind on their bill.
Rieves said the caller says they won't accept credit cards and the person must pay by sending a money order.
Thus far, two in Shawnee were scammed, Rieves said, prompting him to issue a warning to area residents.
Rieves said if it were legitimate issue, OG&E would send a cut-off notice. Anyone receiving such a call should never give information or money, he said, advising everyone to instead hang up and call OG&E directly to inquire about their bill..
Rieves said although they are claiming to be from OG&E, this scam is nothing new and the caller could be saying money is owned on any type of service or account."
"Never give money or any information over the phone," he said, adding, "a legitimate business will not ask you for your Social Security or account number."
As part of the investigation, Rieves said there's been no way to trace the source of the call as it's set up on an Internet-type system that can be plugged in anywhere around the world.
While they scams can happen any time of the year, they are typically worse around the holidays, Rieves said. There's also variations by scam artists.
Back in August, OG&E warned customers when scammers began calling customers. At that time, customers were being told to purchase a "Green Dot" prepaid debit card or other type of reloadable debit card, load the card with money, and then provide the card number to the utility to avoid having their electricity shut off, OG&E reported.
Customers for that scam were targeted in 12 states.
OG&E reports they will not contact a customer over the phone and ask them to buy a prepaid debit card. They also won't call to ask for a customer's credit card number and won't send an employee to a customer's home to collect payment.
Customers who are suspicious about phone calls or people allegedly from OG&E can call OG&E at 1-800-272-9741 for verification.
Customers who believe they are a victim of a scam are urged to notify the police or the state attorney general's office.