Possible MLGW scam targets business owner - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Possible MLGW scam targets business owner

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - There's another potential threat from scammers claiming to be with MLGW.  Trouble was "brewing" Wednesday morning when Qahwa Coffee Bar owner Fred Othmani got a phone call.

"MLGW, disconnecting department," recalled Othmani.

He said the person claiming to be an MLGW bill collector was pretty convincing.

"He said, 'This Qawha Coffee Bar?' I said, 'Yes.' '109 North Main?' I said, 'Yes, sir.' 'Your service is going to be disconnected, within an hour,'" recalled Othmani.

Othmani knew in the back of his mind that he owed the utility nothing.  But he began to have doubts as the conversation progressed.

"And I said, 'I already paid my bill,' and he said 'Would you like me to transfer you to the billing department?' I said, 'Yes.'  So, a second later,
'billing department,'" recalled Othmani.

Fortunately, the actual MLGW cleared up the confusion before Othmani coughed up $850.  He said a less suspicious person may get taken.

"Because when he told me he was going to disconnect the power I panicked, to be honest with you," said Othmani.  "I wasn't thinking right."

No one answered the 866 number when we tried to question the possible scammers.  However, MLGW is aware of such scams and has this warning on its website:

"Customers should be wary of unsolicited phone calls, faxes and emails claiming to be from MLGW.  MLGW service representatives do not personally call a customer to request a payment."

"I'm hoping they don't scam a lot of people," said Othmani.
MLGW only contacts customers about delinquent bills via the mail or automated messages and never from an 866 number. Contact police or sheriff's deputies if you get such a call.

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