Local & State
Attorney general asks SLED to investigate phone scam
State Attorney General Alan Wilson asked Tuesday for a SLED investigation into a sophisticated phone scam that is defrauding utility customers across the state, South Carolina’s electric cooperatives said. Scammers have been calling consumers around the state pretending to be electric cooperative employees and threatening disconnection of service if immediate payment is not made. Consumers are then told to purchase pre-paid debit cards and call a toll-free number with the serial number listed on the card, giving the scammers access to the card. Scammers have targeted the state’s Hispanic communities and small business owners and restaurants, officials said. Wilson asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate because of the volume of complaints. Electric cooperatives officials said they would never call and ask members to share personal information over the phone and sends written notices to members before disconnection. Anyone receiving suspicious call should hang up and call police. The state’s cooperatives serve more than 1.5 million customers in all 46 counties.
Nation & World
Diet Coke under fire over ingredients
NEW YORK Diet Coke, the country’s No. 2 soda, may be losing some of its pop. During a conference call with analysts Tuesday, a Coca-Cola executive noted that Diet Coke was “under a bit of pressure” because of people’s concerns over its ingredients, alluding to the growing wariness of artificial sweeteners in recent years. Steve Cahillane, who heads Coca-Cola’s North American and Latin American business, noted that the issue wasn’t specific to Diet Coke, but that many diet foods and drinks in the U.S. are facing the same concerns.
Report: Most fast-food workers’s families get public assistance
More than half of fast-food workers’ families receive some sort of public assistance, costing the nation $7 billion a year, according to a new report distributed by a group that has been pushing for union representation and higher wages for fast-food workers. Fast-food workers earn an average of $8.69 an hour, and often work fewer than 40 hours a week, qualifying them for food stamps, Medicaid and tax credits, according to the report, which was written by economists at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Even before it was released publicly, the report raised the ire of some conservative groups that said it used faulty methodology to prove a point.
Sony’s SmartWatch 2 will sell for $200
NEW YORK Sony says its new computerized wristwatch will sell for $200 in the U.S. and will work with a variety of Android phones. Sony’s SmartWatch 2 hasn’t gotten as much attention as Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Gear, but it’s cheaper and compatible with a broader range of phones. The Gear costs $300 and currently works only with the company’s Galaxy Note 3 phone. Unlike the Gear, however, Sony’s watch doesn’t let you make phone calls directly through the wristwatch.
The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times contributed.