IRMA SCAM: TECO warns of impersonators targeting customers

Posted at 11:04 AM, Sep 14, 2017

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 
second language. 

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.