The Hermiston Police Department is warning the community of a scam circulating in the area.
According to HPD Crime Prevention Officer Erica Sandoval, the perpetrator calls the potential victim to warn them that they are behind in paying their utilities. They are told the bill needs to be paid immediately in order to avoid service being cut off.
The caller instructs the victim to go to a store, purchase a money card and place a certain amount on the card. The victim is then told to call back and provide the appropriate numbers from the money card in order to withdraw the funds and pay the bill.
“Once the perpetrator has this info, they are untraceable and have gotten away with your money,” Sandoval said.
In one recent case, the potential victim had bought the card, placed more than $100 on it, but became suspicious and decided to contact her electric services directly.
“Great move and is exactly what we would recommend to anyone receiving this type of suspicious call,” said Sandoval. “She was advised that they do not conduct business in that manner and the crime was averted.”
Sandoval cautions people to be on the lookout and alert to suspicious phone calls or letters claiming you owe them money.
“Always go to your service or company and check with them to confirm,” she said. “Most legitimate businesses do not conduct business (that way).