Scammers use frigid temps to attempt to con residents, businesses

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EDMOND, Okla - Frigid temperatures outside and hot pizza ovens inside; the last thing Jo's Famous Pizza could afford was an unexpected interruption in utilities.

Dar Powers, the owner of the pizza shop, fielded a phone call recently from a man claiming to be from OG&E.

He said, "First he had me going. Then I said, 'Who are you calling from?' He said, 'OG&E.' I said, 'I don't think we get billed from OG&E. We get billed from Edmond.' He said they were calling on their behalf. I don't know about this."

Powers was told he needed to upgrade his meter and pay for it with a debit or credit card immediately, or his service would be terminated in 45 minutes.

Powers said, "It's easy to hand out a card number over the phone and be done, especially when you think power is going to be shut off and it's 32 degrees outside."

Jo's is one of several businesses and homeowners, who have received the same threatening phone call.

Jenny Monroe, with the Edmond Police Department, said, "We got four businesses who have called us to alert us. Many citizens calling our utility company to see what's going on."

For the most part, OG&E doesn't even service Edmond.

Authorities say this is just a scam that is using the cold weather to prey on our vulnerabilities.

Monroe said, "These criminals are smart enough that having power is key because of the temps but they aren't smart enough to realize they aren't OG&E customers."

Powers never paid the suspicious fee and never lost power at the restaurant.

However, he is worried others may fall for this very convincing scam artist.

Authorities remind customers that utility companies will never request credit card information over the phone, nor will they terminate service without ample warning.

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