Another local police agency is warning businesses about an ongoing scam related to bogus overdue electric bills and Green Dot money cards.
Colonie police reported Wednesday that the scam has been tried in town at least eight times and been successful at least three of those, netting the scammer about $6,400.
The warning comes after a similar alert issued earlier this month by Rotterdam police, who said they received reports of five scam attempts, two of them successful.
The Colonie businesses hit include two cafes, two delis, two diners and a meat market.
Other versions of the scam can come in the form of someone posing as a representative of the IRS or demanding a settlement for a car crash, police said.
The scam, which likely originates from outside the area, begins with a phone call. The caller identifies himself as being from National Grid and demands immediate payment for allegedly overdue utility bills. If no immediate payment is received, the caller tells the business, their power will be shut off.
Then the caller demands payment using a Green Dot MoneyPak card, a prepaid card that can be used by anyone with the card number and PIN. The instructions even include where to get such a card. The victim reads the numbers to the scammer and the card is drained of its cash.
Each call came from the same number, a 518 number provided by an Internet phone service. The phone number is no longer operating.
Police said it is important to know that National Grid never contacts customers by telephone to demand payment for any overdue utility services. It also does not seek payment by the Green Dot Money Pak card.