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South Carolina utilities have joined with South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) and the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) to warn consumers about utility imposter scams as consumers turn on their heat for the winter.
Utility imposter scams can happen in-person or over the phone and come in a lot of shapes and sizes. Consumers have reported seeing scammers dressed like a representative of a utility company, going door-to-door and demanding payment in prepaid cards or else power would be shut off. The scammer may call and claim the consumer needs a new meter or they are late on their payments. Whatever form the scam takes, the red flags are the same. The top red flags of a utility imposter scam are:
Consumers should also be wary of their caller ID’s as scammers will “spoof” the number they are calling from, 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.
If you have any doubt about the legitimacy of a caller, hang up immediately and call your utility’s customer service center.
Attached is an example of a common utility imposter scam voicemail. If you suspect or experience a scam, notify your local law enforcement agency. To report a scam or for more information on defending against scams call our Identity Theft Unit at 1 (844) TELL DCA (835-5322) or visit consumer.sc.gov and click the Identity Theft Unit tab.