An old scam is making its return again in the Valley, but this time the scammers have made their pitch a little more sophisticated.
It goes like this, the scammer calls a business or homeowner pretending to be either an APS or SRP employee and threatens to shut off the power if the person on the other end does not immediately pay a certain amount of money.
If you don't answer, they'll leave a voicemail with a number to call them back.
If you call the number, the call replicates a typical call center with a phone tree (ie: Press 1 for…, press 2 for…) and hold music before reaching a live person.
Arizona Public Service (APS) reported last week that when the scammers calls, the caller ID may indicate it’s from APS. Another tactic to try and dupe customers.
Phillip Burch, a busy man working two jobs admitted he fell for the scam and paid more than $700 for the money cards he was told to purchase.
“I know I had paid my bill but I was like 'okay, maybe something happened', and of course you don’t want your power shut off. What got me is it sounds exactly like the SRP line when you call them back. I thought it was legit. The recording for the automated line, the water and the electric is exactly the same, the extensions is exactly how SRP has it,” said Burch.
As soon as he had paid up, Burch said his gut instinct told him something was wrong. He called the customer service number for Salt River Project. An operator informed him that he was not behind in payments.
Burch said he was livid.
“Beyond angry. I mean, if that guy was in front of me, he’d have a bad afternoon. I would probably take vengeance in my own hands." Luckily, he acted fast and was able to get the payment stopped and get his money back.
SRP released a recording of the call so you know what to look out for.
IMPORTANT TIPS TO REMEMBER:
- APS and SRP will not call you demand immediate payment.
- If you have questions, contact either company directly
o APS: 602-371-7171
o SRP: 602-236-8888 (residential) or 602-236-8833 (business)
- NEVER give credit card, debit card or other personal information to a caller without verifying their true identity.
If you think you’ve been scammed, contact the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to report it. You can file the complaint online or call 602-542-5763.