TEP warns of 'phone scam' - Tucson News Now

TEP warns of 'phone scam'

Maria Gallegos' father got the scam call and was nearly a victim. Maria Gallegos' father got the scam call and was nearly a victim.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson Electric Power is warning that a scammer is trying to steal your money.

In just the past three days, TEP received 100 reports about this scam, compared to the past seven months when TEP received a total of 200 calls.

Tucson News Now spoke to a woman whose father received the scam call. He said the call seemed legit because the scammers are using software so that the Tucson Electric Power phone number pops up on the caller ID. 

“He was seven days late, which is why when he received the call, it triggered him. He’s like I’m late, I need to go make this payment,” Maria Gallegos said.

Maria Gallegos’s father got a call on Thursday, Aug. 3, from a man who claimed to be a TEP employee and stated Gallegos was late on paying his July bill, which he was. 

The man said immediate payment was the only way to avoid getting his service shut off. The caller demanded he use a prepaid card to bring his account current. Maria said that high-pressure made him rush to Walgreens and load money on a card.

“They kind of keep you from thinking it over because you have such a short time to make a decision,” Gallegos said.

Luckily Gallegos called his daughter before handing over the card number. Wanting to help out her dad, Maria was ready to pay, but had a feeling
something wasn’t right. She called TEP directly and found out it was a scheme. Tucson News Now tried calling the scammers. We waited on hold but no one picked up.

TEP said the scammers constantly change the phone number they’re calling from. Maria said she’s grateful her dad didn’t hand over the cash and is hoping no one else will either.

“He’s paycheck-to-paycheck, and $450 would have taken him about a year to get caught up again. This is a bad situation,” Gallegos said.

More than a dozen customers have fallen victim, shelling out anywhere from $200 to $400, according to TEP. Scammers may also tell a customer their electric meter is damaged and they have to pay to replace it and they will be reimbursed on the next bill.

TEP said their employees will never demand payment over the phone. If a customer is late on a bill, they will be sent a notice in the mail. Customers with questions about their bill can call the TEP Customer Care team at 520-623-7711.

For more information on how to protect yourself from phone scammers visit TEP's website HERE.

You can see TEP's accepted payment options HERE.

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