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Electricity company says there's been a rise in scams using their name

Posted at 7:43 PM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 20:43:49-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Bill Clayton, the Vice President of customer care for Reliant, said some of their customers are getting calls that say “Reliant” on the caller I.D., only to find out, it’s not Reliant.

It’s a scammer trying to get money. He said that’s called “spoofing.”

“So when you look at the caller ID that the customer receives, it would actually show it to be either Reliant or possibly AEP, or some other electric retail provider,” Clayton said.

Customers getting calls from scammers pretending to be Reliant has been ongoing for years, but there’s been a rise lately, he said.

The scammers will give the customer an ultimatum where they ask to pay immediately with a prepaid debit card, money order, or money app, if the payment isn't done the electricity will shut off.

“What will happen, is the scammer will create a tremendous amount of urgency for the customer to pay within 30 minutes or hours,” Clayton said.

Customers should also look out for red flags.

“We recommend, never make a payment over the phone unless you’ve actually called in physically to the official phone number that’s on either Reliant’s website, or your retail electric provider’s website,” he added.

Clayton urges customers to file a police report if they are scammed or have been contacted by a scammer.

Katie Galan, the Better Business Bureau’s Coastal Bend regional director, said scammers will typically get your phone number from another company you gave your number to while online shopping or while signing up for an email list.

Typically, companies will send a letter if you are not making payments, she added.

“Nobody from a legitimate company is going to threaten you, they’re not going to pressure you into making your payment, typically scammers will target senior citizens," Galan said.

Ever since the pandemic started and people started to do more virtual work and school, scammers are targeting 18 to 35-year-olds, she said.

Galan stated that companies will not threaten legal action in any way. And typically, if you do owe some sort of balance, they will not contact you by phone.

She reminds customers that if someone really needs to get a hold of you they’ll leave you a message.