By Emily Banks Wooten
Scammers have been working overtime lately to take people’s money, resorting to intimidation tactics, as well as threats of arrest and threats of utilities being disconnected. Livingston City Manager Bill S. Wiggins is warning people to be aware of the scams and not fall for them.
“Earlier this week, we learned that scammers were calling city customers saying they were with our electric department, that their bill was past due and they needed to give their credit or debit card information to avoid being disconnected,” Wiggins said. “Our phone was blowing up. We got eight or 10 calls.
“We would never, ever contact someone and threaten to cut their utilities off,” Wiggins said, urging citizens to call the city office if they do receive one of these calls.
After learning of the scam, the city immediately put an alert on its website and its Facebook page and also sent emails and automated calls to customers.
“The City of Livingston Utility Department has received reports of scammers calling the public falsely representing the city and demanding immediate payment of utility bills. These calls are not from the city. Please do not give these callers your credit or debit card information, and call Livingston City Hall if you have any questions,” the alert said.
To sign up to be on the city’s contact list for emergency situations, highway closures or other updates such as this, go to the city’s website at cityoflivingston-tx.com or call 936-327-4311 or go by city hall at 200 W. Church St.
Just last week, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was warning people to be aware of scams after learning that strangers were calling local citizens, purporting to be sheriff’s deputies, and threatening to come arrest them if they didn’t give their credit or debit card number and expiration.