Worst Scam We’ve Seen is Hitting BTES Customers

Bristol, TN – Telephone scammers are targeting utility customers in our local area.

Customers of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services have been targeted in a ploy to extort money.

BTES is warning its customers about a scam that attempts to steal money using telephone calls threatening power disconnection unless a pre-paid gift card is purchased at a nearby retailer.

The caller presents themselves as a representative of BTES and the caller id information says the call is coming from BTES – but it is not. The scammer informs the victim that their account is past due and their electricity will be disconnected that day unless they purchase a pre-paid gift card and call them back with the information. The caller tells the victim that they must pay in this manner and not at the BTES office because it is the fastest way to ensure that their electricity will not be disconnected. The phone number the scammers give the victim to call back mimics BTES’ phone recording (phone tree) and sounds identical to BTES’ phone message.

“BTES’ main telephone number is 423-968-1526. Customers can call that number at any time to check the status of their account,” said Mike Browder, CEO of BTES.

Anyone receiving a suspicious call should not give out personal information, including account or credit card numbers.

“To verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be a representative of BTES, only call BTES’ main line at 423-968-1526,” said Browder.