West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged consumers to beware of imposter scams, particularly ones involving callers who claim to represent utility companies.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division recently received several calls about imposters claiming to represent Appalachian Power. Targeted businesses and residential customers have been told they owe immediate bill payment and threatened with service disconnection if they fail to cooperate or question the caller’s legitimacy.
One consumer in southern West Virginia reportedly lost $2,000 when he purchased prepaid cards to comply with the caller’s demands.
“The recent uptick in utility scam calls is particularly concerned because of the convincing nature of the imposters,” Attorney General Morrisey said. ” Look for red flags when you receive unexpected calls from anyone posing as a utility company employee. Stay calm, ask questions and think twice before giving any sensitive information.”
Consumers should be wary of any caller who demands prepaid debit cards, such as Greet Dot cards, as a form payment. The same goes for callers who give inadequate notice of an impending disconnect or interruption in service.
Consumers should also follow these tips:
- Never give personal information via phone, mail or internet without verifying the recipient.
- Be wary of anyone demanding immediate payment.
- Write down all necessary contact information for the caller
- Call the utility’s legitimate customer service number to verify payment is due. This information can be found on a monthly bill or the company’s legitimate website.
Anyone believing they have been the victim of a utility scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at (304) 267-0239 or visit the office online at http://www.wvago.gov.