BBB Alert: Utility Shutoff Scam Is Back

Roanoke, VA - According to the BBB, a phone scam involving phony utility company calls is back. In the scam, A business receives a phone call purportedly from their utility company claiming that their bill is overdue. The caller ID may even display the actual utility company's name and number. The caller threatens to shutoff the power within minutes if the company does not pay upwards of $500 through a money wire, pre-paid debit card or credit card. In some cases the caller may actually know the exact amount due on the actual account. The caller may also claim a letter was mailed out months earlier announcing the installation of new meters, and that the targeted company ignored the letter and now must pay.According to the BBB, Appalachian Power wants consumers to know the company will never call customers in such a manner.The BBB has offered the following tips: * 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. The toll free number for Virginia AEP consumers is 800-277-2177. * Be wary of anyone demanding immediate payment or payment in forms that are difficult to trace, such as Western Union, MoneyGram or GreenDot MoneyPak 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 email 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. * If you believe you may be the victim of a scam, you may contact your utility company, or you may call the BBB at 1-800-851-6869.