A new twist to a popular scam is popping up along the Gulf Coast. One person in Saraland has fallen for the scam. Con artists are calling a person claiming there is an overdue balance on their power bill. This scam has been around a while.
The scheme has transformed into a more elaborate hoax with automated voice menus and telephone extensions. The criminals demand payment or the power will be cut off!Alabama Power says it’s employees never call or come to your home demanding payment. The company says there’s also a new, added element to the utility scam.
“People will get a call from someone representing themselves from a government agency or some type of other agency and they’ll tell customers that they are eligible for some kind of grant where their utility bill can be paid. This is also a scam. Scammers will say you are eligible for this grant, we just need you to provide us with this information which might be your utility bill account number. It might be your banking information,” explains Beith Thomas with Alabama Power.
The Saraland Police Department says one woman fell for the power bill scam and paid the criminals money through a prepaid VISA card.
You can read the warning from police here:The Saraland Police Department would like to caution area residents regarding a possible phone scam in the area. We urge that you provide no person with payment information unless you are certain it is the business requesting the information. Please read the incident below for further details.On February 8, 2017, the Saraland Police Department was contacted by a local business regarding a possible scam. The scammer on the phone call identified himself as a “bill collector” with a local utility company. The scammer told the victim that her power bill was late and was threatening to disconnect her service. The scammer even asked for her utility account number and simulated as if he was locating her information in the system. The victim was skeptical, but agreed to pay the balance due in person at a local business branch. The scammer informed the victim that she was no longer able to pay the balance in person and requested immediate payment over the phone. The scammer then insisted that she go to CVS and get a Visa green dot Card and to call back and asked for Lucas at extension 3500. Officers then contacted the number that was provided by the victim to investigate to matter further. When Officers called the number, a “fake” automated recording began. The recording was set up to choose which department you were seeking. The person then disconnected the call when the officer began engaging him about the information. We are currently working to identify the subject and phone numbers involved.