Florida PSC warns electric utility customers of bill scam

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Florida PSC warns electric utility customers of bill scam

By Justin Burton

      TALLAHASSEE, FL — Electric utility customers in Florida are targets of a scam involving fraudulent phone calls from individuals impersonating utility company employees.

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) is warning customers to beware of calls threatening immediate electric service disconnection and directing the customer to purchase a prepaid debit card to pay their bill.  When the customer calls back the “utility representative,” the scammer asks for the debit card’s receipt number and PIN number, allowing access to the card’s funds.  In some cases, the scammers ask for the customer’s credit card information and numbers.

Some thieves are using caller ID spoofing, making it appear that the call originates from the customer’s utility company, and the scammers have become aggressive when their legitimacy is questioned.

“We want to ensure that Florida’s electric utility customers are warned about unscrupulous scam artists who are trying to steal from them,” said PSC Chairman Ronald A. Brisé.  “It appears that this fraudulent practice is targeting low-income households and small, privately-owned businesses, so there is an even greater urgency to alert customers to this scheme.”

Reminders for electric utility customers:

Utility companies never ask for or require a prepaid debit card for bill payments.

Utility companies do not immediately disconnect delinquent accounts; customers receive several notices before disconnection.

Utility companies never call a customer seeking personal in-formation or credit card numbers.

In the field, utility company employees carry picture identification badges.

If you think you are a victim, immediately call your local police department and call your utility company:

Florida Power & Light Company customers should call in Miami-Dade (305) 442-0388, in Broward County (954) 797-5000, in Palm Beach County (561) 697-8000, and all other counties (800) 226-3545.

Duke Energy Florida, Inc. customers should call (800) 700-8744.

Gulf Power Company customers should call (800) 225-5797.

Tampa Electric Company customers should call in Hills-borough County (813) 223-0800, in Polk County (863) 299-0800, and other counties (888) 223-0800.

Scam victims can also contact the Florida Office of the Attorney General, the state agency responsible for handling fraudulent activities, at 866-NO-SCAM or (850) 414-3990.

Or, contact the Florida Public Service Commission at (800) 352-3442 or contact@psc.state.fl.us.

For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.


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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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