NEW ORLEANS -- The Monday caller pretended to be from the Entergy disconnect department, and threatened Ye Olde Bake Shoppe and Rock N Bowl owner John Blancher to pay or lose power.
'Told me that if I didn't send him a $498 check today, or give him -- I guess he was looking for my credit card -- but to pay it today or they were disconnecting my electricity,' said Blancher.
'It is definitely a scam, and we don't want any customers to become victims,' said Entergy spokesperson Toni Green-Brown. 'If it sounds fishy, call us and talk to us about it.'
'And I would say on a daily basis we get calls on this,' said Cynthia Albert of the Better Business Bureau.
The scam started about a year ago, but Entergy officials say it has spread across the country. It has targeted a number of utilities.
But there is a new twist. The Better Business Bureau reports that if the scammers are successful the first time, sometimes they call the victims back.
'If you get taken one time, what happens is your name and phone number goes on a recall list, and then they call you and call you, and see if they can get you again,' said Albert
'He said he was with Entergy's disconnection department, and that we were delinquent with our account payments,' said Ginny DeFelice of Pascal's Manale Restaurant, who said she's been called four times.
The owners of Pascal's Manale Restaurant now hang up on the scammers, but worry about others.
'I called my dad immediately. He's 90 years old,' said DeFelice.
'Really angry, but also, I have an 83-year-old mother,' echoed Blancher.
'We do not demand money, we do not threaten to come to your place of business or your home,' said Toni Green-Brown of Entergy.
'You really have to be very, very cautious of that, and again, just hang up,' concluded Albert.
If you receive a suspicious call, contact Entergy at 1-800-ENTERGY. You can also file a complaint with law enforcement, or the state attorney general's consumer division.