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Utility telescam making rounds in Erie County

A new scam is taking advantage of area businesses.

The Erie County Sheriff's Office says it has received several calls about telephone scammers threatening businesses who do not pay their National Grid invoice.

The scammers say a technician is en route to disconnect service if the company does not pay the bill immediately. They then insist the company purchase pre-paid money or credit cards and call a 1-800 telephone number to pay the bill.

The Sheriff is "strongly advising" people who receive a call like this to ignore the scammer and call their service provider at the number on an official bill to verify the status of their account.

He also warns that this is only the latest in an on-going string of telephone scams where the callers misrepresent themselves as a representative of a utility company or government agency and threaten punitive action if the issue isn’t settled immediately over the phone.