Scammers posing as Pacific Power employees have been calling local businesses, asking for immediate payment for supposed unpaid bills.
The power company said Tuesday that businesses in Gearhart, Warrenton and Seaside had received calls, some of which became aggressive. Technical teams are working on the issue and have shut down at least one phone number associated with the scams, Alisa Dunlap, Pacific Power’s regional business manager, said.
The owners of Tackle Time Bait and Charters in Warrenton reported a suspicious call Tuesday afternoon.
Gene Kane was confused when he received a call that he had more than $800 overdue. The caller, from what appeared to be a Yamhill-based number, asked for an account identification number and other personal information.
At one point, Linda Kane, his wife and co-owner, heard him say, “Well, we’ve never had the power shut off.” She quickly combed through the company’s power bills.
“I thought, ‘You know, this doesn’t feel right,’” she said.
With her husband still on the other line, Kane called Pacific Power, confirming that they had paid all bills. Presumably hearing her report this to Gene Kane, the scammer disconnected.
Linda Kane said she was shaken, since a loss of power would put thousands of dollars of the store’s refrigerated bait at risk.
“I think they’re targeting small businesses, and it’s really disturbing,” Linda Kane said. “It’s just a horrible thing.”
Pacific Power advised those who receive similar calls to not pay, note the callback number and hang up. Customers can verify information at 888-221-7070.