Electric company warns of scam

Published 5:27 am Wednesday, August 27, 2014

South Alabama Electric Cooperative is warning customer to be wary of a phone scam circulating in the area.

Customers have reported receiving calls from individuals claiming to be representatives of SAEC who say the customers need to pay their electric bills or face having service interrupted.

Chellie Phillips, the communications director for SAEC, said the company would never call “out of the blue.”

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“We don’t call asking for payments,” Phillips said. “We’ll handle it by mail, and a customer would actually have to call us to initiate a payment over the phone.”

Customers who have received the phone calls stated the number showing up on their Caller-ID was the number for the South Alabama Electric office.

“We’ve been in talks with the phone company trying to figure out how they’re able to do that,” Phillips said. “We’ve had customers tell us they’ve called the number back and it rings right to our office. We just don’t understand how they’re able to do that.”

Phillips also wanted to remind customers not to give their debit or credit card number to anyone over the phone.

“If you get a call you’re concerned about, call 800-556-2060 and ask to verify it,” Phillips said. “Nobody wants their power to be cut off, but make sure you know what’s going on before following through with the payments.”

Phillips also said the company called Troy Police Department Saturday to file complaints about the issue. Chief Jimmy Ennis with the Troy Police Department said to be cautious when companies call asking for personal information.

“About the only thing I can say in that, they’re probably not going to be calling people about their bills,” Ennis said. “Most of these places, banks, credit card companies and utility companies are not going to be contacting you in that manner. Neither is the IRS.”

Ennis warned the best thing to do if you think a caller is not who they say they are is to “simply, hang up.”

“Never, never give your social security number or your credit card number to anyone over the phone that calls you,” Ennis said. “Just know that if there is a problem they don’t usually contact you over the phone.”