Empire District Electric Company officials believe someone is “collecting big” by threatening their customers with disconnection.

“A caller claiming to be an employee of the company has contacted a number of healthcare businesses and stated that they are delinquent in their payments,” said Amy Bass, director of corporate communications.

Bass said the caller is telling customers that they will be disconnected if they do not may a payment via the telephone.

According to Bass, Empire District Electric will never ask for credit card or checking account information over the phone.

“If a customer is delinquent on their account they will first receive a notice, sometimes two, in the mail,” Bass said. “Then someone from our credit collections department will call. However, we will never ask for credit card or checking information. If the customer wishes to pay by phone they are given a third party collection number to call. Our collections people do not take that information.”

Anyone who receives a suspicious phone call from someone requesting personal or financial information should contact authorities.