Georgia Power warns of phone scam

Georgia Power said it has fielded more than 650 calls so far this year regarding suspected billing scams and cautioned Monday about the latest one involving prepaid debit cards.

The utility said both residential and business customers are targeted in the phone scam. They are told their accounts are past due and their electricity will be cut off unless they purchase a prepaid debit card and provide the caller with the card’s account number.

Usually callers demand that customers give them a credit card or debit number over the phone, according to Georgia Power spokesman Brian Green, who said the first sign of a scam is the call itself.

“We don’t call our customers and ask them to make a payment,” Green said. Customers get a pre-recorded message on the primary number the utility has on file, asking them to contact the utility to discuss their account, Green said.

Green also said the utility doesn’t send staffers out to customers’ homes and businesses to collect payments. Some of the scams, however, involve individuals knocking on doors. The only utility workers who make visits are technicians in Georgia Power uniforms with IDs, the utility said.

Georgia Power, a unit of Southern Co., said it has fielded more than 74 calls so far this month about possible scams, and affiliated utilities have reported similar scams across the Southeast.

Customers can call a 24-hour hotline to report possible scams at 1-888-660-5890 and visit the company’s website to see the uniforms Georgia Power technicians wear. They also must show their badge.

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