(03/16/21) — Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Investigators are currently working a nationwide phone scam that is operating in our area.
The caller will identify themselves as an Entergy Corp. representative or name another utility company. The caller will then tell you that you owe money on your electric bill and if it is not paid immediately, your service will be terminated. You will be told to purchase a Green Dot or other type cash card, then call the caller back on a number he gives you and give them the information on the cash card to pay the balance and avoid losing service. The caller will emphasize you must do this immediately.
This SCAM and others similar operate in our country 24/7. The stories change but intent is the same. The caller may say they are with the Social Security Administration, U. S. Marshal Service, IRS, local law enforcement agencies, utility companies and a host of other agencies or businesses. SCAMS like this are estimated to be responsible for a $17.9 billion dollar loss to consumers in 2020 alone.
BUT, there is a common denominator in each one, regardless of the story line, that should tip you that it is a SCAM. In all cases, the caller will try to convince you that you must pay money or a fine immediately, and that it usually must be done with a Green Dot or other type cash card. They will instruct you to buy the card, often telling you where to go get it, then call them with the transaction number on the card. They, in turn, get the cash immediately. In some cases, they may instead ask for credit card information instead of the cash card.
No legitimate company or agency will ask you to pay immediately by cash card or with credit card information. Do not follow the instructions given nor ever give out your personal card information.
If you receive a call you suspect is a SCAM, contact the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office or your local law enforcement agency. You may also contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.