Police warn of scammers calling about overdue utility bills

Police in Lafayette and Abbeville are warning residents about different phone scams with the same aim — separating people from their money.

In Abbeville, residents and businesses are receiving phone calls from a scammer who claims to be an employee with the city, Lt. David Hardy said.

Hardy said the caller is telling residents and businesses that they are behind on their electricity payments.

“This person or … company is advising the citizens and businesses that if they do not make a payment to them, within usually a short period of time, their electricity will be cut off,” Hardy said in an emailed new release.

Hardy said the callers demand that residents purchase a “Green Dot,” or prepaid, card and send payments to them.

In Lafayette, residents have received calls with recorded messages purporting to be banks that are telling clients their debit cards are not valid, Lafayette police Lt. Paul Mouton said.

“The message then continues to request additional account information,” Mouton said in a release.

Mouton said residents receiving the calls should hang up.

Police in both cities are urging residents not to give personal financial information to anyone who calls them over the phone.

In Lafayette, residents who have received a suspicious call should make inquiries with their banks about their accounts.

Abbeville does not contract with any third parties to collect overdue utility payments, Hardy said.

“If any citizen or business has or receives a call from someone about terminating their utilities, they should call Abbeville City Hall at (337) 893-2511,” Hardy said.

“By no means should anyone purchase any type of card and pay over the phone or the Internet to someone representing themselves as the city of Abbeville,” he said.