https://www.gosanangelo.com/story/news/ ... 454696001/
Keep the lights on and stay safe, AEP scamming reports are appearing in Texas
Alana Edgin, San Angelo Standard-Times Published 10:09 a.m. CT June 14, 2019 | Updated 11:55 a.m. CT June 14, 2019
The largest volume of scam calls in We Energies history
The largest volume of scam calls in We Energies history happened on Thursday, Jan. 19 across Menomonee Falls and Milwaukee County when 128 phone calls were placed demanding money, or the scammers alleged, We Energies would cut their power. (Photo: We Energies)
Did you get an odd call from AEP demanding payment this week? You may have been called by the latest scammers posing as AEP employees.
Reports of the attempted scams have popped up in Abilene and spread to Corpus Christi, according to an AEP release. The attempts are expected to show up in other parts of the service area.
“Scammers are targeting local businesses, senior citizens and customers and asking for an immediate payment or their power will be disconnected.” said Joel Murphy, AEP Texas director of customer services and marketing. “In some cases, they may even leave a call back number. If called, the response is a very close impersonation of the AEP Customer Operations Center calls."
Scam call signs:
Caller threatens to shut off power unless an immediate payment is made. AEP Texas does not bill the end-use customer and disconnects customers for nonpayment as told by the Retail Electric Provider.
Tells customers they need a new electric meter, but must make a payment before it is installed.
Demands a deposit be made immediately.
Offers a discount on a utility bill if they sign up for auto-pay.
The scammer asks customers to buy a pre-paid debit or credit card and call back.
Scammer asks for the card's receipt number and PIN, which gives them access to the funds.
Caller ID shows AEP Texas and sounds like the AEP phone system message.
“While we cannot speak for the Retail Electric Providers (REPs), AEP Texas employees will never proactively contact a customer demanding an immediate payment, insist a payment be made with a prepaid credit card or ask a customer to meet us in a parking lot to make a payment,” Murphy continued.
How to protect yourself from scammers:
AEP Texas offered these tips in the release.
Call your electric provider to verify your account balance and payment date. The correct phone number is shown on your electric bill.
The Retail Electric Provider will notify customers by mail when an account is past due and service will be disconnected. They will not call an hour before disconnection.
Call police, then AEP Texas at 1-877-373-4858 if you suspect a scam. Do not call the number scammers give you.
AEP Texas continues to educate customers about scams through messages on their electric bills, on AEPTexas.com through social media and public service announcements. AEP Texas also is working with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute scammers, according to the release.
For more information visit https://aeptexas.com/StopScams
or follow AEP Texas on Twitter and Facebook to learn more