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Scammers target Tampa woman with elaborate TECO scam, saying bill overdue

Tampa woman targeted with elaborate TECO scam
Posted at 3:05 PM, Oct 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-03 19:03:21-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- A warning from TECO after an elaborate scam targeted a Tampa woman over the weekend.

She works in customer service and even she questioned whether that phone call was real or fake.

They looked and sounded like TECO.

The first guy called—it even said TECO on the caller ID.

"He’s like ‘hi, I’m a technician with TECO. We have a notice for disconnect for your address and he gave me my address,’” Amanda Knoll said.

Then he had Knoll call another number.

"They had the TECO message down. I mean, I don’t understand how it was the exact same outgoing message," Knoll said.

The second guy sounding just as legit as the first verified her information.

"He said ‘we have a notice for disconnect. It’s three months past due.’ I said, ‘there’s no way that’s possible. I make my payments all the time.’ and goes, ‘OK, well the payments can sometimes be misapplied to other accounts,'" Knoll said.

According to TECO, the number of scam complaints increased in the past several months with more than a hundred reports in September.

Fortunately, TECO spokesperson Cherie Jacobs said, most people did not fall for it.

"What’s been happening lately is the scammers will call, they’re very convincing, because the phone number looks like TECO, the voice when they call sounds like TECO, but they’re demanding immediate payment," Jacobs said.

Jacobs says TECO will never ask for money over the phone.

"If by chance your bill is late, we’re going to notify you in writing," Jacobs said.

That was one reason Knoll was suspicious.

"I told the guy, ‘something’s wrong’ and he’s like, ‘what do you mean something’s wrong?’ and I said, ‘this doesn’t sound right, give me the case number’ and he hung up the phone,” Knoll said.