RCPD: Several People Have Fallen Prey to Westar Scam

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RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Riley County police are warning citizens about a phone scam that’s left several victims out of hundreds of dollars.

The most recent case was reported Friday, February 2, 2013.

A 31-year-old Manhattan woman told police that she got a called from someone who claimed to be a bill collector with Westar Energy and that they needed a payment from her.

The caller asked the victim to get prepaid credit cards and tell them the numbers over the phone in order to make the payment. The victim later found out that the caller did not work for Westar. Riley County police say $760 was stolen from her.

An RCPD spokesman says four separate cases have been reported to the agency so far stemming from the scam. In each case, the victims lost money.

Officials encourage citizens to question any callers that seek money and personal information and if they feel something is wrong about the call, they are encouraged to contact police.

Westar Energy also put out a warning to customers Friday to be on the alert for fraudulent callers claiming to be employees with the company.

In most cases, officials say the caller claims to be a Westar Energy customer service representative and tries to get the customer to provide credit card information or other personal information, telling the customer that a check bounced or that he or she has a past-due bill.

Legitimate calls from Westar Energy should show 1-800-383-1183 and say Westar Energy on caller ID. The agent should always be able to provide his or her name and extension if requested, the company said. For past-due accounts, calls from Westar Energy requesting payment are never made the same day as the disconnection. The customer can call Westar Energy back to verify the information.

If a customer receives a call that is suspicious, he or she should hang up and call the Westar Energy Customer Relations Center at 1-800-383-1183. Customers can also report suspicious activity to the local law enforcement agency, the press release said.