Utilities debit card caper hitting Austin businesses - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Utilities debit card caper hitting Austin businesses

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Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger

AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) -- A debit card caper against business owners is now sweeping into Austin, after being reported last month in Rochester.

Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger said a number of businesses have been contacted by people attempting to impersonate Austin Utilities and defraud them of money.

The police chief said a caller will claim that the business is behind on a utility payment and try to get the business owner to buy a debit card to "settle" the debt.  Chief Krueger wants to make sure business owners know that this is not how Austin Utilities will handle an overdue account.

A similar fraudulent scheme was moving through the Rochester business community in early February.  Back on Feb. 7, Rochester Public Utilities warned commercial customers about a scam involving Green Dot MoneyPak cards.

RPU Communications Coordinator Tony Benson said 16 commercial customers were called over a one-week period by someone threatening to shut off their utilities in 45 minutes if they didn't purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card.

Green Dot MoneyPak cards are reloadable debit cards available at stores and people can use them to pay bills.

Benson said customers should call police and RPU if they receive a call involving Green Dot MoneyPak cards.

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