BBB issues scam warning


CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning businesses and schools about scammers posing as representatives from utility companies.

An initial voice mail may be received stating there’s a problem with a charge on the utility bill and requests a call back. Later, a vague fax is sent, also requesting a call. The scammer hopes to change the caller’s current utility provider to another, unbeknownst to the caller.

“The basis of the scheme is misleading and deceptive business practices”, said Jessica Tharp, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central Illinois. “The client (school or business) is led to believe they are communicating with their current service provider, and renewing an agreement in which they are already know the terms and conditions, when in fact they are not.”

Chris Landstrom, of Twin City Energy Services of Bloomington Illinois, said, “I’ve seen this scheme play out locally before. People need to be cautious because there are so many times clients are not even aware they have agreed to switch companies. In some cases it can cost thousands of dollars to unwind a company or school from the financial position of a current contract with a provider.”

So far, the BBB has received reports from two schools in Ford County receiving the fax and BBB even received its own fax claiming to be from a utility company called Energy Professionals.

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