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Light Plant Warns Customers to Beware Payment Scam

According to the city's utility plant, there's an ongoing scam in which customers are falsely being asked to make electronic bill payments.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Peabody Municipal Light Plant who is threatening to shut off your power if you don't pay up on your bill, it's most likely a scam.

PMLP issued a notice Friday, saying customers have continued to report a scam in which a person calls claiming to be from PMLP and that the customer's account is delinquent. In order to avoid being shut off, the customer is told to pay immediately via credit card or PayPal.

PMLP General Manager Glenn Trueira says this sort of behavior is against the plant's policy and customers should immediately notify PMLP and the police.

"PMLP does not collect over the phone nor threaten shut off in this manner. If you can capture the phone call on caller ID please report the number immediately," says Trueira in a notice to customers.

The municipal utility has a few options for bill payment -- electronic billing, in person or via mail -- but will never call a customer and ask for payment with a pre-paid card, the notice reads.

Customers can call PMLP at 978-531-5975 or www.pmlp.com for more information and call the Peabody Police Department's business line at 978-531-1212.

PMLP also offered a number of guidelines for customers to protect their identity and private information.

  • PMLP seldom contacts you by phone. Your utility bill is sent through the mail and notice of late payments on your utilities account comes as a postcard through the mail. If PMLP shuts off your electricity, we will leave notice on your electric meter or doorknob.
  • If we call you, ask us your PMLP account number, the date and amount of your last electric payment or the date you signed up for electric service. We can provide this information, but a scammer cannot.
  • Don’t ever give your private information over the phone unless you can verify their identity and you trust them. Private information includes your name, birthday, address, driver’s license number, Social Security number, credit card number, bank account number, online account username and password, etc.
  • Never send your private information by email. Email is not usually a secure source of communication. Consider using another method of communication,such as fax or the United States Postal Service.
  • Instead of paying over the phone, pay your bill online, by mail, or come to our office in person. Our address is 201 Warren Street Extension. Our hours are 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. weekdays, except holidays.
  • If you have questions about your electric account, call PMLP at 978-531-5975. If you think you have been scammed, call the Peabody Police Department right away. Their non‐emergency phone number is 978-531-1212.
  • On first blush, these calls sound legitimate.
  • It’s important to call police and the PMLP so that reports can be filed and cross referenced in an attempt to catch the scammer.

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