TAMPA BAY, Fla. - 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.