December 3, 2023

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is alerting citizens that a phone scam that moved into our region last year has returned.

The BBB serving western Virginia says customers of Appalachian Power are being targeted by this scam and are offering tips on how to avoid falling victim to utility scams.

They say the scammer uses hostile tactics including threatening to shut off power within 30 minutes if they do not get instant payment.

Collection agent con artists leave a 1-800 call-back number for victims to give personal and banking information.

Earlier versions of the scam have offered to take payment in person and have used the same recorded welcome message used by the legitimate AEP customer service line.

According to AEP’s website, victims in other states have also reported that scammers asked customers for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, granting access to the card’s funds.

BBB representatives say that the scammers usually reach you by phone; however, they can also knock on your door claiming to be with the local gas, electric or water company.

They may even show up in a uniform claiming that the electric meter is not working properly and must be immediately replaced – at your expense.

On rare occasions, the scammer may gain access your home to perform “repairs” or an “energy audit” with the intent of stealing your…

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