Tampa Electric customers are being told to exercise caution if they receive a call about paying their utility bills. Impersonators of the company have scammed over 2000 people since 2011.
In several cases, they've ripped off customers for more than $1,000.
The scenario works like this:
- Someone pretending to be an employee of Tampa Electric will call a customer and claim the account is past due.
- The caller will demand the customer to purchase a prepaid debit card from a local drug store, then call back with the card's number to avoid a service disconnection.
The impersonators' main targets are elderly people or residents that speak English as a
Tampa Electric is working closely with local law enforcement, as well as internet phone providers, to shut down the phone lines of the scammers.
The company has provided a few tips to keep customers safe:
- Tampa Electric will never ask for credit or debit card numbers.
- Customers should never give out credit or debit information over the phone.
- If customers are unsure they're talking to an actual Tampa Eletric employee, here's who they should contact:
- Hillsborough County - 813-223-0800
- Polk County - 863-299-0800
- All other areas - 1-888-223-0800
Tampa Electric employees and contractors are required to carry photo IDs. If a representative from the company shows up at your residence, you should request to see their ID badge and call the company to verify their identity.
If you have been a victim of this scam or contacted by a scammer, call your local law enforcement agency or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.