Sheriff's Office warns of utility company scam, call tells citizens they are behind on payments

Phone scam

The Polk County Sheriff's Office is warning citizens to be cautious of a utility company scam.

They said they received a report of a telephone scammer posing as a utility company. The person calling claims to be from a utility company, like TECO, and states that the victim is behind on a payment. The caller tells the victim that in order to prevent their electricity from being shut off, they will need to send the company money immediately. Deputies said that in scams like this, the caller will typically ask for money or gift cards.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said that "scammers tend to be aggressive and pushy and act with a sense of urgency. Decent and legitimate companies don’t conduct business that way. Protect your money and your personal information; never give it up when you can’t be sure of who you’re talking to.”

The Sheriff's Office urges citizens to remember that:

  • Phone scammers can reportedly make your caller ID show that the call is coming from someone or somewhere that it is not.
  • Utility companies do not require payments by money card or gift cards.
  • Be cautious of anyone who calls to ask you for payment, especially if they are aggressive.
  • If the call sound suspicious, ask questions like 'Who are you?,' 'What department are you in?,' 'Who is your supervisor?,' and then hang up. Look up the company's phone number on a past bill and call that number back so you know you are definitely speaking with a company representative.

This story was written in Orlando, Florida.