BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is currently warning Baton Rouge area residents of a utility scam involving Entergy that’s once again hitting the area.
BBB officials say a woman recently posted on social media that she answered a phone call from a 225 number that sounded like an automated message from Entergy telling her that her bill hadn’t been paid and that her power would soon be cut off.
The woman says she called the number back, but also noted online that she had already paid her Entergy bill for the month of July. When she called back, the person on the other end reportedly asked for her service address and account number. She says that’s when she became suspicious.
She says she hung up and called the 1-800 number Entergy number to verify that her account was all paid up and that this was in fact a scam call.
The BBB says in the past, some of these scam calls even show up on caller ID as Entergy. Scammers use a “spoofing” technique to try to convince their potential victims the call is real. The BBB says the scam is most common in the winter and summer months when people are most likely to really need their AC or heat.
How the Scam Works:
Utility company scammers will typically reach residents with a telephone call or knock on their door, claiming to be a representative from the local water, electric, or gas company. In the most common scenario, the scammer informs the customer that payment is overdue and the utility will be shut off if they don’t pay up immediately.
Tips to Spot This Scam:
- Prepaid debit cards and wire transfers are a red flag. If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card or wire transfer, this is a huge warning sign. Your utility company will accept a check or credit card.
- Pressure to pay immediately. Scammers will press for immediate payment and may try to intimidate you into giving them your personal and banking information.
To Protect Yourself Against This Scam:
- Call customer service. If you feel pressured for immediate action by a caller, hang up the phone, and call the customer service number on your utility bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative. Never give your personal or banking information to an unverified or unsolicited caller.
- Never allow anyone into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification before letting them enter.
- To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker here.
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