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Pulling the plug on utility scams

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KIRKWOOD, MO (KTVI)-- A word of warning for small business owners.  We've learned someone's on the phone calling area salons.  They aren't calling to schedule an appointment.   Obviously, someone thinks the owner of that type of business is an easy target.  I've talked with three salon owners who say the caller is very convincing.  I talked to one of them on camera.

Amy Cross the owner of "Trim-A Hair Salon" in downtown Kirkwood wants to warn other business owners.  "The salon was really busy,  I got a call and the man said he was from Ameren and that he was giving us a one hour notice that our power was going to be shut off, because our bill was delinquent two payments."

Amy wasn't fooled.  She'd heard about the scam after another salon owner posted on his Facebook page. But no salon can function without electricity.  Amy lists what she needs power for, "Blow dryers , our steamers to get our color finish, running credit cards and things like that. And our computer."

Saturday is the busiest day of the week for salons.  Amy says an unsuspecting salon owner, fearing lost business, might react without thinking, "What do I do, I'm busy.  And he would say, 'Oh you could easily pay by credit card.'  I might have whipped my credit card out just to make it through my day."

A spokesperson for Ameren MO confirmed they've heard complaints about this scam in recent weeks.  But customers should know utility companies don't call or show up at your door to disconnect service.  Amy says she was never at risk, "We're not an Ameren customer.  We're a Kirkwood Electric customer.  So he was fishing in the wrong place."

The folks at Ameren say you should call customer service if you ever receive a call like this.   It's a scam.  Do not give your credit card number to someone claiming that you are about to lose power.

Call our Contact 2 toll free line if you have consumer issues. The number is 800-782-2222.  The line is open Monday through Thursday from 11:00am until 1:00pm.

Links:
Ameren MO       http://ameren.com/sites/aue/pages/home.aspx
Ameren Illinois     http://ameren.com/sites/aiu/Pages/Home.aspx

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