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Utility Bill Scammer Targets Port Chester Residents

Victims refused to send cash, alerted police to phone calls that threatened utility shut-off.

A man targeting Port Chester residents with a utility bill scam on Tuesday failed to get any cash from two would-be victims, who recognized someone was trying to con them and alerted Port Chester Police.

Investigators believe the same person is responsible for two incidents Tuesday afternoon, with the con man trying to obtain the same amount from two different victims. Additionally, Lt. James Ladeairous said the intended victims live just a few blocks away from each other.

In this scam, a 46-year-old Port Chester woman and a 65-year-old Port Chester woman both received telephone calls from a man who said that unless they paid $149.97 their Con Edison utility services would be terminated that same afternoon. The caller tried to convince the women to obtain a pre-paid cash card from a local store so they could make a payment directly to him over the phone.

Last year, several Port Chester residents fell victim to this same scam, losing hundreds of dollars to callers who said they worked for the utility company. By using pre-paid cash cards, victims are unable to get back the their money once they have given over the cash card code number to the scammers.

Ladeairous said a police officer called the telphone number that was given to victims on Tuesday and reached the "Ramon Rodriguez" who claimed to be from Con Ed. But the scammer quickly hung up on the officer. Ladeairous said investigators are attempting to track the scammer through the phone number.

Although the two woman who contacted police on Tuesday did not lose any money, police fear that other Port Chester residents may have been targeted by the same scammer. Ladeairous said residents who believe they may have been a victim of this scam - or targeted by the same scammer - should contact police at 914-939-1000.

Con Ed also warns its customers that the company does not seek payments using pre-paid cash cards or wire transfers.

Con Edison urges customers to never provide a Social Security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it unless you initiated the contact and know the identity of the person you are speaking with.

If you receive a call from someone you do not trust and who is urging you to make a payment to Con Edison, hang up and check the legitimacy of the call by dialing 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

Con Edison's website, www.conEd.com offers a variety of approved and convenient options for bill payment.

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