The Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office is also warning about a group of traveling painters in Nicollet and Brown counties that may be scammers. They’ve been contacting rural residents and offering to paint buildings on their properties. Authorities say this a potential scam, and they’re recommending people contact the sheriff’s office before entering into an agreement with anyone who shows up at your home trying to solicit work. That includes painting, roofing and black top seal coating.
Meantime, the Mankato Department of Public Safety is warning about a scam that is currently circulating in the area.
Police say they’ve received reports about fraudulent contacts made by phone or email by people posing as a local utility (electric, gas, internet, cable, telephone). The telephone contacts may mimic call center sounds or even spoof official-sounding, on-hold automated messaging. Some contacts have also occurred in-person.
Utility shut-off is threatened as a consequence for non-payment of a supposedly delinquent account balance. In most instances, scammers advise the victim to send money by going to nearest Western Union, or place money on a prepaid gift card (Visa, American Express, etc.), which is difficult or impossible to trace or recover.
Scammers are targeting both residential and business customers.
Police say if a phone call like this is received, it’s important to not provide personal information over the telephone. It’s best to hang up immediately, then call the respective utility at their standard published customer service telephone number to verify account status.
For questions or to report this type of call, please contact police at 911.
Victims can also file a criminal report by contacting public safety police at 507-387-8725.