Georgia Power, a division of Southern Company, reported today that its corporate security department is investing a scam plaguing the company's customers.
According to the energy company, scam artists have struck a number of Atlanta-area residents, claiming to be Georgia Power employees. The scam involves the con-artist saying that he or she is with Georgia Power and is calling in regards to a past due bill. The scam artist tells the customer that their electricity will be turned off if the customer does not pay with their credit card immediately.
Then, once armed with valid credit card information, the con-artists use the card data to make purchases.
According to the company's media relations and corporate security departments, Georgia Power representatives will not call customers at home to demand payment, and nor will the company's field representatives ask for payment. The company says its corporate security department is working with the local law enforcement to identify the perpetrators, which has struck at least seven or eight residents in the Metro Atlanta area.
The scams are by no means relegated to Georgia Power and Atlanta customers. DTE Energy's Detroit Edison and MichCon subsidiaries are reporting that the same scam is hitting their customers as well, especially elderly customers.
"In recent weeks, a number of customers have received telephone calls from con artists claiming to be DTE Energy employees, asking for payment of an outstanding bill and threatening to shut off service if it's not immediately paid by credit card or by providing specific checking account information," reported DTE in a press release to the media. "Some customers unwittingly gave the callers their credit card numbers, which were later used to fraudulently purchase goods and services in several states."
Like Georgia Power, DTE is responding with a proactive information approach. By educating customers through press releases and news articles in local papers, the utility providers are attempting to cut the security problem off at the ground.