AG warns of fraudulent calls

Published 1:29 pm Monday, October 7, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is warning of a recent batch of scam telephone calls in the Birmingham area, many of which claim to be representing power companies.

According to Strange, his office has received multiple reports of fraudulent calls claiming a resident’s power would be disconnected if the resident did not provide credit card information or mail a disposable credit card.

As a response to the reports, Alabama Power and other power companies have issued warnings urging customers to contact the company directly if they receive a suspected fraudulent call.

The recent scam is not the first of its kind, according to Strange. His office “periodically receives inquiries and complaints about similar scams, with scammers often claiming to represent utility companies that provide electricity, natural gas, telephone or cable services.”

“These scams use fear and intimidation to trick people into thinking they owe money and to send payments quickly or they may lose an essential or highly valued service,” Strange wrote in a release. “I urge Alabamians to be suspicious of any such calls and to not be frightened into sending money they may not owe and which may be impossible to recover.”

Strange’s office offered the following tips to prevent fraud:

-Ask the person calling for their name and contact information, but do not rely on what they tell you.

-Look up the contact information of the company they claim to represent, verify it for yourself, and contact the company directly.

-If someone says you must act immediately, either to get a prize, to pay a fee, or to stop disconnection of a service, refuse to handle this with them on the telephone, but tell them that you will take care of it by contacting the company directly for yourself.

-If they persist in demanding immediate payment, tell them that you will report the matter to local law enforcement, the company they claim to represent and the Attorney General’s Office.