LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Police alerted Lynchburg residents on Tuesday evening after receiving several reports of scammers pretending to work for Appalachian Power and trying to convince customers to pay to keep their service.
According to the Lynchburg Police Department, Appalachian Power customers received calls claiming the company would disconnect their service unless they made an immediate payment. In order to do so, the scammers reportedly instructed customers to purchase prepaid debit cards — such as Money Pak or Green Dot — and call a toll-free number to provide the card information. Customers who dialed the toll-free number said the recording on the other end sounded authentic, but officials say it’s fake.
Lynchburg Police Department says Appalachian Power does contact customers over the phone, but the company does not demand immediate payment via prepaid cards. Instead, the company allows customers 24 hours to arrange payment before it disconnects their power service.
Here are some tips from the Lynchburg Police Department and Appalachian Power to help customers protect themselves from scammers:
- Make sure you are actually speaking to a representative from the utility company. If you worry the caller may be a scammer, tell the caller you will check the utility company’s phone number to confirm the caller’s identity and information.
- Watch out for callers demanding immediate payment or forms of payment that are harder to trace, such as Western Union, Money Pak, or Green Dot cash cards.
- Never share the numbers for your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account, or any other personal identification numbers to anyone who visits your house, calls, or sends an email soliciting information.
- Do not let anyone claiming to be a utility representative into your home unless you previously scheduled an appointment and the person can provide authentic identification. If you become concerned about your safety, lock your door and contact the Lynchburg Police Department.
If you receive these types of phone calls from someone claiming to work with Appalachian Power or AEP, please call Appalachian Power’s toll-free number for Virginia customers, which is (800) 956-4237, or the Lynchburg Police Department at (434) 455-6041.
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