Utility scammers target Wellington businesses

By: David Marcus - Email
By: David Marcus - Email

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WELLINGTON, Kan. - Early on Monday morning, the Sumner County Care Center received a call from a man who claimed the business was behind in its electricity payments.

He said the power in the building would be cut off by 8:30 A.M., unless someone made a quick payment on a prepaid GreenDot debit card.

"If we wanted to have it reinstated, we needed to come up with one thousand, nine hundred and ninety seven dollars and ninety seven cents," says Tami Klinedinst, Executive Director of the Care Center.

But Klinedinst was suspicious.

She started asking the caller specific questions about the businesses' payment history.

"He didn't have those answers," Klinedinst says. "So, asking more in-depth questions, he didn't have the answers for, and then the GreenDot card, a prepaid card, kinda was a trigger that this was a scam."

In this town of less than 10-thousand people. scams are not common. But on Monday, city officials say at least one other business reported getting the same phone call.

"The city of Wellington would never ask any customer to purchase a prepaid debit card, or pay for sevice in that respect," warns Shane Shields, Wellington's City Clerk. "So, I would simply not give any information and hang up."

But before you do, don't be afraid to strike back.

"Always ask those deeper questions," says Klinedinst. "Don't take it for granted that what they're telling is that correct information, because it wasn't."

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