Electric Utility Scammers Return to Coastal Bend
AEP Texas representatives are not calling Coastal Bend customers demanding late electric bill payment over the phone one hour before disconnecting service. If you get one of these calls, hang up. An old scam has returned to town, according to AEP, the area’s electric utility company.
“Don’t be a victim,” reads a media release issued by AEP. “AEP Texas is not making these calls.”
Some of these scammers are even knocking on front doors, saying meters need to be changed and asking for a deposit or payment. Customers are threatened with the loss of electrical service if they do not pay immediately.
“[AEP employees] do not proactively contact customers demanding payment to replace an electric meter,” the release continued. Although the company does occasionally replace meters, employees do not seek payment for them.
AEP is an energy delivery company and does not bill end-use customers, who pay different retail electric providers for usage. AEP does disconnect customers for non-payment, but only at the request of the retail company.
One sign that these scammers are not legit: They ask for payment with prepaid debit or credit cards. Customers are asked to go purchase the cards and then call back with a card number. Caller ID often indicates that the calls are coming from an AEP number, but they are not.
Similar scammers were active in the area last June, targeting local businesses and senior citizens.
If unsure when getting one of these calls, call your retail electric provider and verify your account balance and dates for payments due. That number is on your electric bill. Don’t call back the number left by the scammer. You should also contact the police and then call AEP Texas at 877-373-4858 to report the call.
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