Beware of more sophisticated phone scams

Beware of more sophisticated phone scams
Phone scammers are using new technology to make them seem more reputable when stealing from victims. (Getty Images)

Industry insiders estimate that on a given day, 45 percent of calls are automated. Many of those calls use tools to make the caller ID look similar to yours, so you’ll think it is local. Scammers take that to another level, and hack the caller ID to make it appear to be Alabama Power, or your bank. Some even go to the trouble to simulate the recorded message you would get if you called the legitimate number.

While the FCC pushes for a system that makes spoofing more difficult, you can protect yourself by knowing what to watch for from these crooks who impersonate utilities.

Would you fall for utility scams like they did? from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

“We tell customers that if you have any doubt about who you might be speaking with on the phone, that you hang up and call us directly,” said Alabama Power Security Manager Scott Stover. “It may seem rude to some, but we’d rather you be safe, and confident that you’re talking with the right people.”

Alabama Power wants customers to remember the following:

  • We will never come to your door and demand an immediate payment.
  • We will never call you and ask you over the phone for bank information or a credit card number.
  • Any Alabama Power employee who comes to your door for any reason will have company identification that he or she will gladly show you. If you have any questions about whether a person actually works for Alabama Power, call Alabama Power at 1-800-245-2244 and do not let him or her inside your home.
  • Scammers sometimes claim they represent a public agency or government office offering grants that can pay your Alabama Power or other utility bill. Never provide anyone making this claim your credit card information, your Alabama Power bill information or account number, or any personal banking information. If someone makes this claim, call Alabama Power or your local police department to report it.
  • If you ever have any question about the status of your Alabama Power account, do not hesitate to call us. You can reach Alabama Power Customer Service weekdays from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. at 1-800-245-2244.

Today is Utility Scam Awareness Day, part of Utility Scam Awareness Week by Utilities United Against Scams. You can view other tips to avoid being a victim of scams from Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at Alabama NewsCenter.

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