Nationwide Utility Bill Scam Hit Columbia Today

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COLUMBIA - City utility officials said Thursday four Columbia residents have received phone calls from an unknown person stating they were overdue on their utility bill. The suspicious caller claimed they were a utility company employee, and encouraged residents to pay their bill over the phone immediately. All of the residents denied the caller payments.

Columbia communications and marketing supervisor Connie Kacprowicz said the city gives customers 20 days after the date listed on the utility bill to make payment. The city will then send another bill in the mail. If there is still no response, residents will receive an automated call two days before their water and power is turned off.

"There's never an instance where a city utility worker would call you and ask for that information personally," Kacprowicz said.

Columbia officials urge residents to call a law enforcement agency immediately after a fraudulent call. The city offers these tips to avoid phone fraud.