South Carolina Electric & Gas is warning customers to be aware of phone scams targeting small businesses and residents.
Customers have reported getting fake automated messages and telephone calls from people posing as SCE&G employees. The scammers often urge immediate payment to avoid electric service disconnection, and they instruct customers to purchase a prepaid debit card or provide credit card information.
"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, SCE&G vice president of customer service.
He said if customers have any doubt about the call, they should call the company’s customer service line immediately. The number is 1-800-251-7234.
Common elements of these scams 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.
▪ The scammer may threaten to turn a customer’s service off if the customer doesn’t make a payment immediately.