Homeowners beware: New scheme threatens to turn off power service


PITTSBURGH - Channel 11 News viewers have reported several phone schemes over the past few weeks, including one that threatens to turn off power services.

Mary Lou Shenot said she was targeted, but was able to identify signs of a scam.

“It was just a scary thing,” said Shenot.  “The man said we were being shut off because of lack of payment.”

And that wasn't just power to her house; it was for her entire family farm and market in Marshall Township.

“It was instant panic,” said Shenot.

The caller, who identified himself only as "Michael," told Shenot to buy two prepaid debit cards for $1,000 from Walgreens and call back with the ID numbers.

It already sounded suspicious, but then, he made a big mistake.

“We have Penn Power,” said Shenot. “He told me he was West Penn.”

“It was fine with me if he would just shut the electricity off,” she told the caller.

Michael hung up.

Shenot said she called the number back several times and even spoke to “Michael” again.  She told him that she paid her bill and was able to take care of it on her own.

She said “Michael” sounded confused and said, “That’s wonderful,” before hanging up on her.

“Just be very careful and think twice,” Shenot said.  “Think it through because chances are, the slightest little thing can be a scam.”

Penn Power told us that they are aware of this scheme and their company would never call a customer and demand immediate payment.