News Column

Callers Claiming to be from Kentucky Power Use Scare Tactics to Get Cash from Small Businesses

August 14, 2014



FRANKFORT, Ky., Aug. 14 -- Kentucky Power, a unit of American Electric Power, issued the following news release:

Small business owners who are customers of Kentucky Power are the latest targets of scam artists seeking to extort cash. The scam, which instructs customers to purchase prepaid debit cards, such as a Vanilla or Green Dot, has been used in other states.

"Customers are receiving calls from a person who tells them that Kentucky Power or AEP no longer accepts payments by check or credit card, that their payments have been returned and that they owe $1,000 that must be paid immediately with a prepaid credit card. This is completely false," said Spokesperson Jeri Matheney.

Utility company scams, unfortunately, are too common. While there are instances when Kentucky Power will contact customers over the telephone, the company does not demand payment in this manner, Matheney said.

"If customers receive any suspicious, urgent, demanding phone call from someone claiming to be with Kentucky Power or AEP, we suggest they hang up and contact us at the toll-free number on their bill, which is 1-800-572-1113, or call local law enforcement," she said.

Here are some tips consumers can use:

* Confirm that you are speaking to a utility representative. If you have any concerns, tell the caller that you will independently check the phone number for the utility to verify the caller's identity and information.

* Be wary of anyone demanding immediate payment or payment in forms that are difficult to trace, such as Western Union, Vanilla or Green Dot cash cards.

* Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or sends an e-mail requesting information.

* Never allow anyone claiming to be a utility service person into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment and the person has proper identification. Contact police if you become concerned about your safety.

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Source: Targeted News Service


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