Gulf Power has recently seen an increase in scams involving its customers, with fraudsters using caller ID spoofing and robocall technology to target residents of Northwest Florida. These scam calls demand payment or send customers to automated call centers to speak to a representative about late payments or send them to a false payment location. Scammers often threaten disconnection unless immediate payment is made via phone or in person.
“These scammers are becoming increasingly bold with their tactics, and technology is making it easier for them,” said Rick DelaHaya, Gulf Power spokesperson. “Our customers can never be too careful. If you feel something isn’t right, take a moment to visit our Gulf Power website for more information. You can look at your account and tell if there’s an issue or if a payment is needed. We would rather customers confirm it’s Gulf Power than be taken advantage of by a scammer.”
Gulf Power wants to help customers be aware of the tricks scammers use and to educate them on how they can protect themselves and their loved ones from being targeted.
Spot a scam:
- Gulf Power will not show up to a customer’s home or business to collect on a payment. If an account becomes past due and is subject to disconnection, Gulf Power will contact the customer via a prerecorded message to the primary account telephone and by letter requesting that the customer call Gulf Power to discuss the account. The company will never go door-to-door asking for payment.
- Beware of calls and emails demanding immediate payment. Customers have reported that scammers will call, usually in a very aggressive tone, requesting for payment through a credit card, pre-paid debit card or gift card. Gulf Power will never ask for any form of payment over the phone or through email.
- Gulf Power employees are easy to identify. If a Gulf Power employee has a service-related reason to visit a home or business, customers will in most cases receive notice of the visit beforehand and the employee will always be wearing a Gulf Power employee ID badge with their photo, company’s name and logo.
Stop a scam:
- Don’t make an immediate payment. Customers should never share their credit card or debit card information or purchase a prepaid card or gift card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. The company will not ask customers to pay anywhere other than an Authorized Payment Location.
- Verify the payment request. If someone threatens immediate disconnection or shutoff of service, customers should hang up the phone, delete the email or shut the door. To verify the payment request, contact Gulf Power.
- Report the scam. If customers suspect someone is trying to scam them, they should hang up, delete the email, shut the door and contact Gulf Power’s customer service. Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers, should contact local law enforcement authorities.
“The safety of our customers is a top priority,” said Delahaya. “We want them to be able to spot and stop scams and not fall victim to a criminal stealing from them or their loved ones. When in doubt, visit our Gulf Power website for more information.”