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Arizonans getting threatening calls about bills

Cell phone
Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 07:00:08-05

You may get a call threatening to turn off your electricity unless a bill is paid now. Or you could get a text about your data usage, asking you to click on a link. One is a scam. The other is not.

Cindy lives in the Valley and says she answered a call that appeared to be the number for her electricity provider, SRP.

"It's a courtesy call letting you know your SRP service will be disconnected in 15 minutes," she says she was told.

But why? Cindy says she always makes her payments on time. "He said because you did not make the down payment to have your meter upgraded and you need to pay 498.98," Cindy was told.

If you're an SRP customer, that call is going around. If you're a Cox customer, you may get a text message about your data use.

The text reads "heads up... looks like you've used 75% of the data in your plan." There is also a link to "manage" your account.

Because of seeing so many scams, I never click on unknown links. They can lead to viruses and hackers getting into your information. Instead, log into your real account and check.

In this case, you'll find the text is not a scam. Cox says it sends warnings to customers with limited data plans that if they go over their limit, there could be extra charges.

Back to that SRP call, Cindy doesn't think its legitimate. But she says the person knew a lot of information about her account.

"You sent a payment in three days ago for the amount of $160. I see it posted here," is what Cindy says the man told her.

She says he also had her account number and names of people on the account.

When he asked to be paid in gift cards, Cindy knew it was a scam. But she wonders if the man had access to her account because he had so much information.

Was there a data breach? SRP says no.

In a statement, they say "First, the customer did the right thing when she refused to send money and contacted SRP immediately.

SRP has not experienced any data breach involving customer information. It's unclear how the scammer had personal information about the customer. There may potentially be a larger breach of this customer's personal information and we advise she look into that."

Whether it’s a call, text or email, do not respond. Go to your accounts and communicate with the company there. And anytime you're asked to pay with bitcoin or gift cards, it’s a scam.

Click here for more on how to spot utility scams.

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