CROSSETT, Arkansas (07/31/19) — Be very, very careful if you get a call from someone claiming to be from Entergy, the power company.
Sheriff’s deputies and police in Arkansas say that a scammer has been threatening to cut off citizens electricity, unless they pay up.
One business in Crossett received phone calls and even had someone show up in person.
“I was outside and I noticed the truck there,”Patti Roan said. “I was walking in and I noticed him stick his head out of the window.”
Roan is the owner of Prah Day Spa and Salon in Crossett. She was at her business on Saturday when she noticed a man sitting outside in his truck. She figured he was a customer, so she greeted him.
The man proceeded to tell her that she hadn’t paid her bill.
“He just said that they were going to do me a courtesy and not cut my electricity off today,” she said. “He said they had been trying to call.”
Roan’s business phone had several voicemails the previous day from a man identifying himself as Anthony. He left a voicemail instructing the business they needed to pay their electricity bill.
Roan says she didn’t speak much with the scammer when he showed up outside of her business Saturday. When she did go back inside after speaking with him, she called the 866 number that had been trying to reach her.
The caller again, identified himself as Anthony.
“He said they weren’t here to cut it off that day but they would as a courtesy wait until Monday and that would give me time to take care of the $472 bill,” she said.
When Roan ended the call with “Anthony” the man outside had already left. She called the business owner next door to verify her business’s bill had been paid.
“The owner of the business next door brought his receipt to me shortly after,” she said.
Roan’s business shares the same building with Arnet. The day spa and salon has paid their portion of the entergy bill to the computer services company for years. They give Arnet their bill, write a check to them and Arnet pays the money to Entergy.
That receipt the next door owner showed was the same amount of money the scammer was asking for over the phone. The scammer knew the combined amount for the two businesses entergy bills.
“It’s pretty scary that people can know your business and fraud you,” Roan said.
Roan didn’t fall for the game the scammers were trying to play. She speculates the scammer is a computer expert or could possibly be someone within the company.
Christopher Wasson, Entergy Customer Service Rep, says there are ways citizens can be sure they don’t become a victim to the scam.
“If a customer is indeed going to be shut off, we notify customers in writing with an official letterhead that has their account information on it,” Wasson said.
He also recommends citizens properly dispose of their bills in the trash and keep an eye on bill payments online or through the company app.
“People need to make sure they’re smart,” Wasson said. “When people are demanding money immediately, that’s usually the red flag.
Entergy will be checking meters soon. Representatives also want to warn citizens that a scammer could try to charge them for that service, but there is no fee.
If anyone has showed up to your home or business claiming to an Entergy representative, contact your local police.
The scammer is calling from 866-580-1029.