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Cheektowaga police warn of utility scam

Cheektowaga police issued a warning about a telephone scam in which victims are being goaded to purchase prepaid gift cards to pay off bogus utility bills.

Police said there have been several reported incidents in which victims have received phone calls from someone claiming to be from National Grid, who tells victims that they owe the utility $1,500. If the bill is not paid immediately, they are warned, their gas will be shut off.

The victims are instructed to buy a prepaid gift card and provide the caller with the card's serial number over the phone. Police said the owner of a private residence and the owner of a local business were each scammed out of $1,500 and $1,000.

Police note utility companies do not conduct business in the way that the scammers portray.

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