'We're going to turn you electricity off' scam artists targeted Laconia biz on Friday

LACONIA — A local business owner said he nearly fell for a telephone scam Friday when someone who purported being from Public Service of New Hampshire called his shop and said the electric bill was unpaid and crews were coming any moment to turn off his electricity.

John and Brandon Morin of My Coffee House on Court Street said they knew the electric bill was paid but the man on the phone wouldn't hear it and kept telling him he needed cash.

Morin said he was given a telephone number and a fax number but was told he needed cash. He said he spent most of the day trying to straighten out what he thought was a legitimate error on the part of PSNH.

He said he was concerned that if his electricity was shut off his inventory would spoil.

At one point Morin said he called the bank and had an employee send a faxed copy of his canceled check to a fax number he was given. He also said the callers gave him a toll free number which would ring back to the alleged scam artist who would answer pretending to be a PSNH call-center employee.

Early in the afternoon, Morin got suspicious and looked up the PSNH number on his own and called them.

"They told me this was a new telephone scam that was unfolding as we spoke," Morin said.

"The manager at PSNH was wonderful," he said.

"PSNH told me the company never conducts business that way."

PSNH could not be reached by The Daily Sun for comment last night.

Morin said PSNH actually recognized two of the names being used as fraudulent representatives of their company.

He said a bank branch manager stopped by his shop personally and has helped him close his accounts and reopen new ones.

Morin said his purpose in calling the media was to warn others about the scam.
He said he planned on reporting the attempted fraud to the Laconia Police Department.