Scam artists posing as utility company employees are calling customers and threatening to shut off power unless an immediate payment is made, according to the Arizona Attorney General's Office.
The scammers claim to be from Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona Public Service (APS) and Tucson Electric Power (TEP), according to a news release from Attorney General Tom Horne's office.
Scam artists threaten to shut off a customer's power within a couple of hours if payment is not made in the form of a prepaid card, credit card, or through PayPal, according to the release.
They claim they are from a utility company's disconnect department and then give consumers a phone number to call after the customer has purchased the prepaid card.
Once customers call back and give the payment information, scammers then have access to the consumers' money.
On other occasions, scammers have gone to consumers' homes and asked for money to keep the power on or make repairs to the equipment, according to the release.
Scammers are targeting individual consumers and small businesses. In the case of businesses, they are calling during busy times, according to the release.
For example, scammers called flower businesses on Valentine's Day. They have also called restaurants during lunch-hour rushes.
Utility companies do not make these types of calls nor do they ask for these methods of payment over the phone, according to the release.
If a payment is past the due date, the utility company will send out a reminder bill if the account becomes eligible for disconnection and will place an automated call that gives you the option to talk with the company, according to the release.
The Attorney General's Office issued these tips to protect consumers:
For SRP customers:
For APS customers:
For TEP customers:
For all consumers:
Never give your credit or debit card numbers or other personal information to any caller or visitor without knowing their true identity.
Report possible scams to the Arizona Attorney General's Office by filing a consumer complaint at www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer; by phone at 602-542-5763 (Phoenix), 520-628-6504 (Tucson), or toll free outside metro Phoenix, 800-352-8431, or by email at email@example.com
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