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Valley man scammed by caller posing as utility

Posted: 7:09 PM, Jan 20, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-20 21:09:18-05

If you're a business owner, you don't want to hear your electricity is going to be cut off.

But Wayne Craig says he got that call.

Wayne owns the Arizona Events Center in Mesa and he had an event that night.

He says the caller told him he needed to pay a bill over the phone.

And Wayne did that, he says, because the caller knew his account number and some payment information.

Later, he says he called his utility company, SRP, wanting to know what they would tell him about his account if he didn't have his number.

He says with just basic information, he got his account number and 3 payments with dates.

With Wayne's permission, I also called the utility and got similar information.

There's no way to know where the scammers got their information when they called Wayne.

But it concerns Wayne that scammers could too easily get it and use it to take money from others.

In a statement, SRP included the following response: 

SRP says they offer "password protection to our customers who request that their information only be provided to a caller to our customer contact center who responds with the correct password."

--We've communicated to our customers the rise in scams through social media (19 posts in 2016), news releases and customer contact newsletter (6 times in 2016). we have also provided information via email to certain types of business that may be targeted.

--We always stress to customers that we never demand payment or threaten immediate disconnection over the phone. When a customer has a past due balance, we notify the customer via mail and, for those signed up for enotes, email or text notifications.

--We refer customers to  our website.

--Regarding this particular customer, we verified that no one accessed his account or pulled customer account information during that billing period. The amount the scammer requested was different than the amount on the customer's bill.

 

If you get a similar call, don't pay anything until you've called the utility or business and verified something is owed.

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