Phone scheme almost gets local businesswoman

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Updated: 4/08 10:53 pm

JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. – A National Grid phone scheme almost caught a local businesswoman.

Chauncey McCormick runs her business, Grandma Millie’s Bakery, in Johnstown. When she received a call from someone claiming to be National Grid, she was afraid she had missed a payment.

“National Grid says they’re coming to shut us off in 45 minutes if you don’t give them $700 right now,” she explained.

The cost of McCormick’s electric bill has been very high the past couple months. She had to work out a payment plan with National Grid.

“I’m getting scared thinking, ‘Oh, my God. I don’t want my electric shut off,’” she said.

Worried that cutting the power would affect her business, McCormick dropped what she was doing and checked her records.

“Then all of a sudden it dawned on me this is a scam,” she said. “I was like, ‘Uh, uh. You are not doing this to me buddy.”

McCormick said she knew it was a trick to get money from people already struggling to make payments. Patrick Stella is the spokesperson for National Grid. He said this scheme isn’t new.

 “They will keep calling until they find someone who may be behind on their bills,” he said.

But they couldn’t get McCormick.

“He said ‘You better make a payment and you’d better make it now or we are shutting you off,’” she said. “And I said, ‘Like hell you will’ and hung up.”

Now McCormick is worried others might fall victim to the same scheme.

“I kept thinking what if it was my grandma sitting at home a sweet, nice lady,” she said.

McCormick wants to warn others, and National Grid said she did the right thing by hanging up and calling National Grid directly.

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