I was in my office when my phone rang. Out of the corner of my eye I saw that it was not a known number, so I ignored the call. I usually do not answer calls from unknown numbers, since it is usually a salesperson or someone who wants me to answer a survey. Five minutes later it rang again. I realized the number on my cell phone screen display had a local area code, so I said to myself, “I have nothing to lose; I will answer.”
The person on the other side of the headset identified himself as an employee of the electric company, and the reason for his call was to notify me that they had not received my payment, and that my service was at risk of being disconnected. I could not believe it! I had heard of clients receiving these types of calls, but I never imagined that one day I would receive one. Don’t get me wrong, I say it because I work for the electric company and my account is in automatic payment. I decided to play along and acted worried. I told him it would be a nightmare to have my service disconnected.
The employee of the electric company told me not to worry, instructed me to go buy a prepaid card, and call him back as soon as possible with the account number. He gave me an hour. I wrote down the phone number and hung up. I called back, and the employee of the electric company answered immediately. I told him I knew his call was a scam and that I was going to report it to the police. Before I finished saying the word “police” I realized the call had been cut off.
Unfortunately, this does not only happen in the area where I live; it is a problem everywhere. These predators are looking for good and innocent people, and unfortunately many fall for their tricks. These types of calls increase during this time of the year because these scourges of society know it is when we are most vulnerable. Nobody wants to be disconnected when the temperature outside is 90+ degrees Fahrenheit and we rely heavily on our air conditioners. I don’t want you to be a victim of this scam. So, here are some things to remember for you to protect yourself:
- The electric company usually makes courtesy calls to remind you if you have not paid your bill, but will never demand payment immediately.
- The electric company will never give you instructions to buy a prepaid card to make your payments.
- If you receive a call of this nature and you have any doubt, hang up. Find the phone number of your local power company and call them directly.
- Never offer personal or financial information over the phone unless you are 100% certain who you are talking to.
- Report the call to the local police department so they know people are making these types of calls in your area.
And do not forget to follow us on Facebook for recommendations on how to protect yourself from scammers, and for great tips on how to conserve energy. Overton Power District No. 5 welcomes you back!