Officials warn about spike in recent phone scams

iPhone (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) It’s the latest scam.

“In this particular event they were using Col. Powell’s name and calling people and basically scamming them out of money. They were saying you have warrants or you’ve got this fine and if you don’t pay this now we are going to come out and arrest you.”

But Lieutenant Lin Dehning says that’s nonsense. He said recently a person was scammed out of

$1,500 when they agreed to pay that amount from a pre-paid card.

“We will never ask someone to go buy a pre-paid card and give us the numbers. That is the tell-tale scam right there,” says Dehning.

Scams are something Westar Energy is also asking customers to be cautious of.

Jaycee Breese, Westar corporate communications representative, says “We have seen some in the Topeka area recently. It could be that they are fraudulently calling customers claiming to be Westar employees.”

Officials say Westar will either mail you a bill or call you. But when they call it will be to tell you that you have a balance due, not that they are immediately going to shut off your electricity. And they have a specific policy during the cold months, saying they won’t shut your service off even if you do have an outstanding bill in certain circumstances.

“It runs from November 1st to March 31st and it prohibits the disconnection of service when the local national weather service forecast will drop below 35 degrees.”

Most importantly, if you think you are being scammed, let someone know.

“These scams are difficult to investigate but not impossible,” says Dehning.

Dehning says often times the number will actually look like a local phone number from their office, so make sure wither way to write it down and always report it.