BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It’s a scam that’s proven to be quite successful and persistent.
Businesses across the state and country are the targets. And they’re losing thousands of dollars.
Alabama Power is going on the offensive, with robo calls and flyers to alert businesses.
Spokesman Ike Pigott explains, “We’ve tracked a lot of scams this one has lasted longer and it’s had a higher effectiveness rate.”
In this case the scammers are targeting businesses and industries where the pay off is bigger than residential customers..
Here’s how it works: someone calls saying they’re from Alabama Power, the “caller i.d.” may even say “Alabama Power,” the person says there’s a past due bill and if they don’t get a payment within hours, the power will be shut off.
The business is told to get a money pack, a disposable debit card from a drug store or convenience store, and to call a number with the account info.
The untraceable cards are emptied immediately.
Business owner Llynette Mantooth says she’s surprised people are falling for it. “it’s surprising because someone with utilities you would immediately hang up and call them back to verify it is who they say they are.I don’t see how anybody could be fooled by that.”
But Pigott says an alarming number of people are getting duped. “These calls are originating overseas so a lot of barriers to finding who is doing it and shutting it down.”
While this scam targets businesses, Alabama Power says residential customers should also be aware of it.
Also remember: Alabama Power will never call and ask you for bank information or credit card numbers
And, no one will show up at your door demanding payment.
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