NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A local church is out $500 after it became the victim of an Entergy scam.
If you’ve ever been late with a payment, you just might believe it when you get a threatening call from the utility company. That’s what happened to Pastor Thomas Gross of the Living Faith Christian Fellowship Church in Gentilly.
“Entergy had called and said that we were behind on payments, and that they were going to cut the service off at a certain time, 12 o’clock, if we didn’t come up with the money,” Gross said.
He said church leaders were worried because they had a service the next day.
"They kind of got us with the fear tactic," Gross said.
Gross said he’s wary of scams and decided to call the number.
"When I called it, I got the exact same recording that you would get if you called Entergy," Gross said.
Gross said the caller became even more believable based on the amount they requested.
"Actually, it was the amount that we owed, and see that's why I question that because it seemed funny that they would know the amount," Gross said.
Gross said the caller requested that he pay the almost $500 with a Green Dot Card, a form of payment the Better Business Bureau warns should raise a red flag.
"Any type of payment of course, that's hard to track down, Green Dot Card, you have to be very very careful," Cynthia Albert with the Better Business Bureau said.
After he made the initial payment, Gross said they demanded he pay again because the amount was incorrect. When he tried calling back to confront the scammer, he said the number was disconnected.
“They can make it look like it’s somebody you know or the actual company that they’re representing,” Albert said.
Gross said the money lost came from the church's saved funds.
“Trust me, it’s not nice at all. And when it’s over, you feel foolish, you really feel foolish. But again, I just wanted to take the opportunity, again, to alert the public,” Gross said.
Entergy representative Charlotte Cavell issued this statement:
“Entergy takes customer privacy seriously. We maintain administrative, technical and physical safeguards designed to protect personal information against accidental, unlawful or unauthorized destruction, loss, alteration, access, disclosure or use. We also remind customers that Entergy never demands immediate payment and if they receive a phone call that sounds suspicious, they should hang up and call 1-800-ENTERGY or the authorities.”