FTC warns of telephone 'utility bill scam'

FTC warns of telephone 'utility bill scam'

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ATLANTA -

An old telephone scam with a new twist is picking up steam.  It's bad enough that the Federal Trade Commission has just issued a warning about what it calls "the utility bill scam."   So how can you defend yourself?

The scam starts off with a simple phone call.  The caller ID shows a number you recognize-- for example, one of your utility companies.  But what you don't realize is that your number has been spoofed.  It's not the utility company calling.  It's a scammer.

The FTC's latest warning is for a caller tells you your electricity is about to be cut off, but he says he can stop it—if you pay him. It used to be that the caller would ask for money to be wired, but that set of red flags.  The new twist?  You'll be asked to pay in one of three ways: via Paypal, a Greendot card (reloadable debit card), or gift card.

Power customers are often a target, so they want you to be clear, Georgia Power will never call you and ask for personal information or demand an unusual payment.  Instead, they will leave a recorded message on your primary phone number and ask you to call them.  

Georgia Power says if you ever get a call you're not comfortable with, you should call their 24-hour customer service line and verify the caller's identity.  That number is (888) 660-5890.

For any call from any service provider, if something doesn't feel right, you should hang up and call your utility company yourself to see if your service is in jeopardy.

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