Florida AG warns utility customers about scam

By Bryan Cohen | Aug 28, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi issued a warning to Florida's utility customers Tuesday about a scam involving callers pretending to be utility company employees to obtain credit card or prepaid debit card information.

The scammers impersonate employees of Tampa Electric Company, Gulf Power Company, Duke Energy Florida Inc., Florida Power & Light Company and other Florida utilities. The imposters call utility customers and threaten that the company will shut off power unless the customers provide credit card or prepaid debit card information. After obtaining the information, the scammers can use it to make fraudulent purchases.

Some of the scammers are using a technology known as caller ID spoofing. The technology makes the calls appear to be originating from the customer's utility company when that is not the case.

Legitimate utility companies will not ask for or require a prepaid debit card for bill payments and will never call customers seeking personal information. In the field, utility company employees carry picture identification badges and never ask for money from customers.

Bondi said the scam is becoming increasingly prevalent in Florida and customers should be aware of the scam to protect themselves. Floridians encountering the scam can file a report with her office or with the appropriate utility company.

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