NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Frontier Basement Systems has been in business in Middle Tennessee for almost two decades and they just keep growing. Scammers were looking to capitalize on their good fortune.
“They had claimed that we hadn’t paid our bills, that we were overdue and that they were getting ready to shut the lights out on us if we didn’t pay within a day or two,” said Dustin Gebers, general manager of Frontier Basement Systems. “It sounded like it was just somebody from Nashville who called, sounded like somebody that was local. They said they were with NES.”
Gebers said the company’s director of marketing received that phone call. She was suspicious but did her due diligence.
“She checked in with our accounting department, and they looked at all of our bills and all of them are paid,” Gebers said. “It was weird because they had our account number as well as the name on file.”
Even weirder, Frontier has utility services through Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, not Nashville Electric, as the caller identified. A red flag, but the scammer had an explanation.
“They claimed that they had sent us a statement saying that they had merged with CEMC, which was kinda strange,” Gebers said.
The scammers called back a second time and said the payment had to be made by cash card. The owner of Frontier then went to nip this in the bud.
“We just had him stop by CEMC and ask around. (They) pretty much said right away, ‘yeah, this is a scam’ and this had happened to more than one person,” Gebers said.
“For our customers, we want them to be aware that NES will never call to make that demand for a payment, asking them to go make a payment and buy a prepaid card or pay cash or they’re going to be disconnected,” said Sylvia Smith, vice president of customer services for Nashville Electric Service.
Smith said scammers go to great lengths to impersonate NES.
“Our scammers are getting a lot more technical and advanced at this,” Smith said. “We are seeing where they will call our customers, even email our customers, and they will actually show our logo. On the caller ID, it will show Nashville Electric Service.”
Smith said if you ever get a call from someone claiming to be with NES, hang up and call to report it.
“When you call us, we will also notify the police,” Smith said. “It’s always good to call your local police as well to make them aware that you have received those types of phone calls.”
Frontier Basement Systems also reported the scam calls they received to the Better Business Bureau.
If you think you’ve been targeted by an NES scam, call the customer relations phone number at (615) 736-6900. You can also call that number if you’re having trouble paying your bill and need to make arrangements.
News 2 is helping you fight back against other holiday scams. We expose scammers tricks in our Holiday ScamBusters special reports all day Monday in every newscast and on WKRN.com.