CORTLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – A Trumbull County business is warning others about a phone scam after they were told they owed money for a past-due utility bill.
Brian Engler, owner of Cortland Auto Repair, got a call last week from a person pretending to be from Ohio Edison. They said his business owed a bill and that technicians were on their way to turn off the power.
“We kinda freaked out about it [because] maybe we missed a bill by accident, which I didn’t think we did but you never know,” he said.
The scammer left a number to sort out the issue.
“I called it and it said it was the electric company — push one for this, two for that — and I was like, wow, seems legitimate,” Engler said.
But it’s what this person said that raised a red flag, telling Engler the shop owed $975.
“I told him it was a scam and I hung up because I know we didn’t owe $975,” Engler said. “I know what our electric bill is and in three months we don’t spend $975.”
Engler found an old bill, called the number there and as it turns out, he was paid in full.
“What I’d recommend, call the electric company, call the number on your bill and see what they tell you,” he said.
Investigators recommend not giving out personal information over the phone, especially if you get a similar call.
“Do your own homework. Don’t pay anybody anything over the phone that is calling you, don’t give anybody your personal information, don’t give them any special identifiers about yourself,” said Det. Sgt. Mike Yannucci, Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office.
Engler says he reached out to us because he doesn’t want to see anybody getting taken advantage of by this scam.
“We had customers here, we were kind of busy, so it was really they got us at a good time, they almost got away with it,” Engler said.