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Sawnee EMC warns of phone scam in Forsyth County area

FORSYTH COUNTY — A local electric services provider urged customers to be cautious after a number of complaints were reported in connection with a phone scam over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

Customers — three on Sunday and “a couple” Monday — claimed they received phone calls from someone who identified as a Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation employee. The caller told customers their power bill was late and that they would be shutting services off in one hour.

The catch: They could keep their power on by buying a prepaid Visa card, calling back and paying their bill over the phone.

“Sawnee EMC definitely does not call people and threaten them in that way,” said Blake House, vice president of member services for the Cumming-based company. “We don’t take payments that way.”

House said Sawnee EMC recommends filing an incident report with Cumming police or the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

One complaint came from a church, he said. Another was from a business. The rest were private residences.

No one went through with making a payment this time, though people have in the past.

Phone scams come and go, he said. They have happened before, and the story or scenario is usually altered slightly.

A common factor throughout many phone scams is the need to get a prepaid card, a money order or a green dot card to make a payment to prevent something from happening, whether that is services being cut off or a warrant for someone’s arrest being executed.

“You’ll have this happen a few times. Then you won’t hear about it for a few months,” House said. “It’s a definite scam.”