The Damariscotta Police Department warns residents and business owners to be on alert for suspicious phone calls threatening the disconnection of utilities if immediate payment is not made.
Damariscotta Police Officer Erick Halpin received a report last week from a Damariscotta business owner about a phone call from someone claiming to work for Central Maine Power Co.
The caller, who identified himself as Don, told the business owner the company would disconnect the business’s utilities unless the owner paid in cash or with a cashier’s check immediately, Halpin said.
The caller’s phone number was not listed on CMP’s website, Halpin said.
When Halpin called the number the man had provided, he was brought to an automated message system claiming to be at CMP. The system had instructions to dial an extension to speak with a customer representative.
The representative, who identified himself as Brian, hung up when Halpin asked for his last name.
Halpin called the number again and spoke with the same representative. Halpin told the representative he had received a notice of disconnect and wanted to know what he could do.
When the representative asked for Halpin’s account number, Halpin told him he didn’t know it. Halpin then asked for the representative’s last name and was again hung up on.
As of Monday, March 28, the phone number now connects to an automated message system claiming to be at a utility provider in Sacramento, Calif., Halpin said.
If a call seems suspicious, Halpin recommends getting the caller’s name and callback number.
“If the number isn’t listed on the CMP website, it’s more than likely fraudulent,” Halpin said.
Halpin also recommended not to give personal information, such as account numbers, over the phone, and to follow up with a verified number listed on CMP’s website at cmpco.com.
According to the CMP website, the company will not call a customer for payment if the account is in good standing. Customers can check their balance at cmpco.com or by calling 800-750-4000 (residential customers) or 800-565-3181 (business customers).