Houston restaurant owner says call from CenterPoint was scam

HOUSTON – A restaurant owner said he's been targeted by someone claiming he owes hundreds of dollars to CenterPoint Energy two times in the last three months.

At V Bistro, natural gas is a necessity.

Owner Khoi Vo got a message at his restaurant Tuesday to contact CenterPoint Energy, and when he called the number back, he heard: "Welcome to CenterPoint Energy, your call may be recorded for quality purposes. Hi, you've reached the personal assistant for disconnections department. Please tell me your name and I'll try to connect you."

It sounded legit, until the person on the other line said the restaurant owes $747, plus $4.95 CVS would charge for convenience fees.


"He told me to take care of the fees within the next hour; he instructed me to go to the closest CVS and call him from there to get further instructions," Vo said.

Vo had never had to pay his bill at CVS and knew he didn't owe any money.

"That's when I realized maybe something fishy is going on here," he said.

He checked his account online and then called a different CenterPoint customer service number.

"He said my account is in good standing," he said.

CenterPoint said the first 800 number Vo called is a fake, and so was the person who was pretending to be one of its agents.

"It's a scam," Vo said.

CenterPoint said it is investigating.

The company said its phone agents would send you to an automated system to pay your bill, not a drug store, and said those agents would never threaten to disconnect your service.