The first icy blasts of winter arrived this week and as regularly as the swallows return to the Mission San Juan Capistrano so, to, arrived the Zero-dark-thirty scam.
Imagine you are on the verge of waking and you get a phone call from the power company.
"Mrs Forgetful, we are calling to inform you that our crew will be showing up this morning to shut off your power." the voice on the other end of the call informs you.
You panic. You are sure you paid the bill...right? The wind howls outside as you fight clear the cobwebs from your head.
The helpful voice on the other end suggests, "Why don't you give us your credit card number and we will bill it for $100 'good faith' money and we will sort it out later. If it turns out that your payments have been misdirected then we will simply credit it to your next bill." Oh, so helpful....
Yeah, like the charge will only be $100 and like you will ever see it back.
Alternately, they call your place of business right at the starting bell. You know, the time when you come blasting out of the starting blocks.
"What!!! You can't shut me down. I have clients streaming in."
The helpful voice on the other end suggests...
In both cases politely say "Thank-you. I need to call Sidney my account rep to see what is happening." and then hang up. Immediately call the utility's 1-800 number just in case the account really is balled up. Hey, it could be true and they really want to know when their customers are being scammed. It means they might have a security breach that needs to be addressed.