Scammers are posing as MLGW and threaten to cut off utilities

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Better Business Bureau and Memphis Light, Gas and Water want consumer and business owners to be aware that the unpaid utility scam is once again targeting people in Memphis.

The scammers call and threaten to cut off your utilities if you don't' give them an immediate payment over the phone.

BBB received two reports of the scam from businesses in the last few days.

In the past, the scam has targeted business owners at the peak of their day. Crooks hope to catch businesses off guard and convince them that they'll have no power to operate if they don't pay up fast.

“At MLGW, we never demand payment or threaten to cut off services over the telephone. We certainly never tell any customers to buy prepaid debit cards or gift cards,” said MLGW President and CEO Jerry Collins Jr. “We always mail cut-off notices to customers. We also use auto-dialers that alert you in advance when a payment is due to avoid cut-off.”

“As MLGW installs more and more smart meters,t his will soon be an outdated scam. MLGW eventually will no longer disconnect someone’s utility by driving up in a utility truck. If you get such a call, hang up the phone. It is not MLGW.”

BBB and MLGW offer the following advice to avoid falling for one of these scams:

  • Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
  • Remember that anyone who has the number on a prepaid card has access to the funds on the card.
  • Never give out personal or financial information or wire money to an unsolicited caller.
  • If you get a similar call, hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency.
  • MLGW will never direct customers to make payments through a specific method. They may advise commercial and industrial customers of pending service disconnection via mail, automated phone calls, text alerts (if enrolled) and sometimes a courtesy call to the business.
  • If you or your business has been targeted by this scam, share as many details as possible with BBB at bbb.org/scamtracker.