City officials and local law enforcement want businesses to be aware of a utility bill scam that has once again made its way to Nebraska City.
One business received a call from an alleged scammer earlier this week.
"They represent themselves as the electric provider and demand payment within 30 minutes to 45 minutes or they will disconnect the utilities," said Nebraska Utilities Department General Manager Leroy Frana. "They go after businesses that have a lot larger bills. Sometimes they get fairly close [to the actual amount] in saying they need a payment of X or their power will be shut off."
The scammer reportedly called from a California area code, but no other information identifying the scammer was available, said Nebraska City Police Capt. Lonnie Neeman.
"They can do it now where it looks like the Nebraska City Police Department is calling on caller ID," Neeman said. "In this day and age with all the technology, they have ways to beat the system."
Sadly, this isn't the first time this has happened in Nebraska City.
"We went through this about a year ago," Neeman said. "It was kind of the same thing. They wanted money for the utility bill."
To date, the utility scams have been limited to businesses, but that could always change.
"To the best of our knowledge no one has fallen for it yet," Frana said. "The thing we want people to be aware of is that we don't call people as part of our collection process. We handle it all through the mail or in person. If in doubt, they are welcome to call our office."
Neeman said scams are an ongoing problem, not just locally, but everywhere.
"A lot of times, especially with residential scams, they pick on older people – they seem to any way," Neeman said. "On the internet, I can punch up anyone's name and find out more about anyone than I want to know. I think these security issues are going to get worse as time goes on."
If you are contacted by a suspected scammer, Neeman suggests finding out as much information as possible about the caller before contacting the police or sheriff's department.
"The best thing for them to do is never give out any bank account numbers, social security numbers or credit card numbers over the phone," Neeman said.
The Nebraska City Police Department can be reached at 402-873-6666 and the Otoe County Sheriff's Department can be reached at 402-873-9560.