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Maryville warns people of utility bill scammers

"One person did follow through with that and gave out a debit card number."

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Leaders in the city of Maryville are warning people of utility scams.

The city reported just this week two people got calls from scammers claiming they could give them a discount on their utility bill.

Experts said this kind of phone call is indeed a scam because utility companies never reach out to customers making offers. 

Maryville officials just want to be sure people know this is not legitimate and to always call us directly if there are questions. 

"We don’t want to see our residents become victims to these predators. It makes me very angry that people are out there doing this to our folks," Jane Groff with the city of Maryville said.

Groff said right now all they can do is make people aware of what is going on. 

"These kinds of offers don't exist with local utility distributors," she said. 

Officials said two people reported getting a call from a scammer saying they could get their utility bill lowered. 

All they needed to do was hand over payment information. So one person did follow through with that and gave out a debit card number. 

Utility bills are usually higher in the cooler months, and Griff said she fears someone else can get tricked into the scam to save money.

"One of our customers who called in mentioned that. That's why they made the transaction because they felt like their bill was high right now. And they really needed some relief from that," she said. 

Tony Binkley with the Better Business Bureau said this kind of scam involving a discount sounds new to him. 

"This is kind of new that we've heard calling to lower their utility bills, but still, they're asking for money," said Binkley. "End that phone call and try to contact the company directly." 

Groff encourages people to call (865) 273-3456 if they get any suspicious phone calls about their utility bill.

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