Vineland Municipal Utilities officials said people posing as utility employees are trying to scam money from utility customers.
The scammers have contacted at least 10 VMU customers, telling them they must pay past-due bills or services will be shut off immediately, VMU spokeswoman Lisa Lucena said.
Of the 10 customers, one residential and one commercial customer “did fall for the scam,” she said. They wound up losing a “substantial amount of money” to the scammers.
Information about the scam was turned over to the Vineland Police Department, Lucena said.
Customers of VMU, which provides water and electric service, are not the only ones in the country being hit by the scam, she said: “This is happening everywhere.”
The FBI in January warned Oklahoma residents that people were pulling the same scam in connection with utility payments. Utility customers were told they would lose services if they did not immediately provide credit card or bank account information for payment purposes.
Officials with utilities companies in Orlando, Fla., have also warned their customers about the same kind of scams.
VMU customers who received the scam calls were told they must pay their past-due bill immediately with a Green Dot pre-paid “MoneyPak” debit card, credit card or via their bank account.
Lucena said VMU customers should provide no banking or payment information over the phone. VMU payments are only accepted by mail, in person at City Hall or with a credit card via VMU’s Web portal, she said.
VMU customers who suspect they received a fraudulent phone call should, if possible, write down the phone number of the calling party and turn it over to local authorities, she said.
Contact Thomas Barlas: