The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 3, 2014

Ohm-my: Man falls for power ploy

Fake utility company rep dupes Montandon resident out of $1G

— MONTAANDON — PPL Electric Utilities is urging customers not to fall for “an urgent demand for payment by money card” that appears to be coming from people claiming to be with the power company.

But Valley residents are falling for it.

On March 31, John A., 43, of the Montandon area, was notified by someone he thought was an employee of PPL who demanded John pay his utility bill. The “employee” knew John’s PPL account number and the amount due.

The “employee” was so convincing that John sent off a payment of $1,222 using a prepaid credit card, according to a report from Milton state police.

There has been a rash of recent complaints from businesses and residential customers throughout the PPL coverage area receiving threatening calls and emails from people claiming to be with the utility, demanding immediate payment of phony overdue bills. To avoid having service disconnected, they advise customers to pay the bill by purchasing a pre-paid credit/debit card and sending them the amount supposedly due.

“We also won’t email you with threats for you to pay your account,” PPL assures its customers on its website. “Customers who are behind on their electric bills receive written notices of a possible disconnection and how to prevent it.”

If a PPL worker needs to visit you at home, he will be in touch with you in advance. He will not arrive unexpectedly. He will also be wearing company uniforms, driving company vehicles and carrying identification, which you should ask to see.

A related scam being reported involves people going door-to-door claiming to be PPL employees and asking to see a recent electric bill. They are telling residents they need the information to check eligibility for a rebate.

Do not provide strangers with private information, whether they are asking for it in person, by mail or over the phone. Do not be lured by the promise of a rebate or a refund. Also be careful of what you toss in the trash. Shred billing and bank statements and any mail you receive so account numbers cannot be stolen.

If you have been contacted by scam artists posing as utility employees, do not send money. Instead, contact your local police and notify PPL at 1 (800) DIAL-PPL, which is (800) 342-5775.


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