Power companies warn of phone scam

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - South Mississippi power companies are warning people to be extra careful. Coast Electric Power Association officials say they've received a high number of complaints on Friday from customers who have received calls asking them to pay up or have their power shut off.

But power company officials say it isn't them making those calls. It's all a scam. Reports of fraudulent calls aren't uncommon, but Coast Electric officials say this Friday has been busier than most.

Customers are reporting calls telling them they need to either pay a late Coast Electric bill or pay a $500 deposit for the installation of a new digital meter. If they don't the caller threatens to cut off their power.

"Both of those things are completely untrue. We don't call members when their accounts are delinquent. We'll send them a message via text or email. If they've signed up for our alerts and reminders or we'll have someone go to their house. And when we have people go to their house they are in a marked truck. They have a company ID. They'll be in a company shirt," said Coast Electric Media Services Executive April Lollar.

Victims say the phony calls have been coming from 888-615-0475 and many times, Lollar says the fraud will makes obvious mistakes.

"Sometimes they'll actually use the wrong company name. So that's always a tip off. You know when someone gets a call saying they're calling from the wrong utility and they know they are not served by that utility. That's obviously a big clue that it's a scam," said Lollar.

If a call seems suspicious, Lollar says don't give out personal information and be sure to report it both your utility company and your local law enforcement agency.

Mississippi Power has also confirmed they've had isolated reports of similar fake calls. To learn more about consumer fraud visit: www.usa.gov and search under consumer fraud and scams or visit the Better Business Bureau by clicking www.bbb.org.

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