UNION PARISH, LA (08/26/19)–Receiving a call and being told you never paid a bill can cause panic. However, you may want to think before you pay someone over the phone. Scammers have gotten creative and smarter over the past couple of years. Preying on all types of people in hopes of getting every cent possible.
“They were telling members that they had thirty mins to pay their bills. And if they didn’t that then they would be cut off,” said Emmalee Tingle, Communication Specialist for Claiborne Electric.
Claiborne Electric is warning customers about a fake company called Southwestern Power Company, who claims to be contracted by them.
“They continue to do this because there are people every once and a while who will fall victim to it,” said Tingle.
That fake company is scamming customers and telling them their bill is past due and they only have 30 minutes to call an 800 number and pay with a giftcard or else they will be disconnected.
“We will never call and say you have thirty minutes to pay your bill.5
We will also not call members on the weekend or after hours,” said Tingle.
This is a pretty common scam in the utility business, but you don’t have to be a victim.
“You get a name and a phone number from them and then tell them you will contact them back and then you call your local utility company and ask if there is anyone there by that name,” said Mike Bryan, Detective at Union Parish Sheriff’s Office.
There are multiple ways to avoid scammers.
“If you have any kind of mail that may have your personal information on it, shred it, don’t just throw it away. As far as anyone calling asking for money over the phone, I would just hang up and not send them anything,” said Bryan.
If it sounds suspicious or feels suspicious, hang up and call the company.
If you find yourself a victim of a scam- call your local sheriff’s office and give them all the details you know. At this time, Claiborne Electric is saying they don’t think any customers fell for the scam.