If you ask most people about cons and scams they'll tell you that it usually works because it plays on people's greed. That email in your inbox from the guy in Nigeria who wants you to hold $40 million dollars and then he'll give you 10% of it...?!?!?! All you need to do is give him your bank account information.
But the rip-off artists keep at it. This time they're trying to get bank and credit card info from customers of Ameren UE. If you live in the St. Louis area that pretty much means you.
Here's what they do---they call you and tell you that your account is past due by a small amount. It's usually just $15 or $16. If you don't pay up today then your electricity will be shut off today. That small amount means you usually lower your guard. If they called and said you owed $200 bucks you'd sit up and take notice. But $15 bucks?!? Okay, here's my credit card info.
A couple things to take note of here---if you are overdue then Ameren UE will tell you to call THEM. They will never ask for your personal or financial information over the phone. Plus, it would be highly unusual for a company to disconnect you for such a small amount.
About half a dozen people have reported getting these types of calls but Ameren UE expects there to be plenty more. About 7 months ago there were letters going out to customers from scam artists. Ameren UE thinks these calls may be coming from the same group.
Are these scammers playing on people's greed in this case. It would appear not. They're just trying to rip-off innocent people it would seem. I have a feeling it's the elderly who are most often taken in by these scams.