If someone contacts you with threats to disconnect electric service unless you make immediate payment – typically using a prepaid card or another non-traceable form of payment – be alert that you are likely the target of a scam.
Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) continues to receive reports that involve criminals posing as SWEPCO representatives contacting customers and demanding immediate payment. They use phone, in-person and online tactics.
“These scammers are targeting vulnerable groups of people, including seniors, non-native English speakers, and small business owners,” said Karen Wissing, SWEPCO spokesperson.
“If you believe a scammer has contacted you, hang up the phone immediately, delete the email or shut the door. You can verify the status of your account by using the SWEPCO app, logging into SWEPCO.com or calling us directly at 1-888-216-3523,” Wissing said.
SWEPCO employees do not call customers demanding immediate payment or insist that customers purchase a prepaid debit/cash card to pay a bill.
Scammers typically threaten disconnection of electric service and demand immediate payment. They ask the customer to purchase a prepaid debit card, such as a Green Dot card, and ask for the card’s number, granting the scammer instant access to the card’s funds.
If someone approaches you in person, ask to see an ID badge. SWEPCO personnel should be wearing appropriate company logo shirts, hard hats or ball caps. Look for a SWEPCO truck parked outside. You can verify callers or visitors claiming to be from SWEPCO by calling the customer service line at 1-888-216-3523. If you ever feel you are in physical danger, call 911.