Summer sparks electricity company scams

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The threat of losing electricity, especially in these summer months, can create panic.

One Fourth Avenue restaurant owner says she fell victim to thieves preying on that fear.
The owner of Bumsted's on Fourth Avenue says she had already dealt with one close call with Tucson Electric Power last year.

Recently she got a call from someone claiming to be T.E.P., who knew her account number and balance, saying that she had to pay $750 to keep her power on, even though she knew her account was paid.

When she demanded a supervisor, she eventually was transferred to one.

She bought a cash card and sent the money but the caller was not T.E.P.

The utility says this has happened before and people should not hesitate to call the T.E.P. number to check their account.

"They will get a courtesy phone call where they're simply notified that their bill is overdue," T.E.P. spokesperson Joe Barrios said. "But never in this manner where someone calls and says you have to go through these steps and pay today or your service will be shut off today."
"I would basically have to forget my past and my experience and do what felt right which is hang up on them despite the threat which was huge," Schuman said.
You can reach T.E.P. at (520) 623-7711.

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