By News-Register staff • 

Utility warns of scam calls

McMinnville Water & Light is warning customers to beware of phone calls demanding payment for supposedly late accounts.

The utility warned Thursday that it has seen an increase in phone scams relating to electric and water utilities. McMinnville has been heavily targeted lately, with numerous customers complaining to Water & Light, according to Water & Light press release.

The agency said the scammers contact customers by phone and demand payment, threatening to disconnect power and/or water if the customer doesn't pay immediately.

The utility warned that some scammers have identified themselves as McMinnville Water & Light employees and are “very aggressive in their attempt to collect payment by instructing the customer to purchase a prepaid credit card or call another 1-800 number to make a payment.”

However, no such calls are legitimate, and the demanded payment should be refused – even if the caller i.d. system shows the call originating from McMinnville Water & Light, as some scammers have sophisticated equipment that can fool caller id.

“McMinnville Water and Light will never ask for payment to be made with a prepaid card,” General Manager John Dietz said. “lf your account is past due, you will receive written notice of a past due account with instructions on how to avoid disconnection of service. If you receive a suspicious call, please hang up immediately and call our office at 503-472-6158.”

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