CAYCE, S.C. (Feb. 4, 2016) – South Carolina Electric & Gas urges business and residential customers to be aware that scam artists are posing as SCE&G employees on telephone calls.
Customers have reported instances of individuals portraying themselves as SCE&G employees over the phone, warning of a late utility bill. Scammers will often threaten to turn a customer’s service off if the customer doesn’t make a payment immediately. In some cases, the scammer instructs the customer to purchase a prepaid debit card, or the scammer may ask for the customer’s credit card information.
Other common elements of these scams may include:
- The scammer often targets small businesses, such as restaurants, hoping to create a higher sense of urgency.
- The scammer suggests a specific store from which the customer can purchase a prepaid card. Scammers like prepaid debit cards because they can obtain the money on the card without showing a photo ID.
- The scammer uses the practice of caller ID "spoofing," which causes the customer's phone to display a false caller ID. Often, the scammer will "spoof" a local number, perhaps even using the utility's standard customer service number.
“SCE&G may call a customer about an overdue account balance, but we will ask the customer to provide information that only the customer and SCE&G would know, to validate that the call is legitimate,” said Sam Dozier, vice president of customer service for SCE&G. "If customers have any doubt whatsoever about the legitimacy of a caller, they should hang up and call our customer service line at 1-800-251-7234."
Dozier said bill payments are accepted at SCE&G business offices, by mail, authorized payment agencies, online or through SCE&G's phone payment provider, BillMatrix, by calling 1-800-450-9160.
“If you think you may be a victim of a scam, notify your local law enforcement agency immediately,” Dozier said. The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs also has a phone line for reporting consumer scams: 800-922-1594 or 803-734-4200.
For more information about how to safeguard against scams, watch our video: http://ow.ly/yuyou. Follow our social media channels: Twitter.com/@scegnews; Facebook.com/scegnews; and YouTube.com/scegnews for the latest updates regarding this issue.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 697,000 customers in 24 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 343,000 customers in 38 counties in the state.