Beware of utility scam artists


Special to the Inquirer - By AEP of Ohio



GAHANNA — Scammers are getting more sophisticated in their attempts to steal your money. And thieves don’t let up either; they’re on the prowl 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,

A very common scam involves someone pretending to be electric company employee. The thief threatens to shut off power unless an immediate payment is made by wire transfer, prepaid debit card or other type of gift card, which is against our policy. AEP employees don’t accept payment in person and will never have you send a card or make a wire transfer.

Scammers target customers over the phone, by email and even in person. Fraudsters often prey on the most vulnerable, including senior citizens, low-income residents and small business owners during their busiest hours.

Here are some tips from AEP of Ohio.

The good news is there are ways to spot fraud and protect your money and personal information.

How to Spot a Scam

The most important step in protecting your money is knowing how to recognize a scam. You’re probably talking to a thief if the person:

  • Demands immediate payment.
  • Asks for your personal account information.
  • Insists on a prepaid credit card, wire transfer on other specific form of payment.
  • Provides an unfamiliar phone number or asks to meet at an unusual location to make a payment.

How to Stay Safe

  • If you’re told your account is past due, check your account status online.
  • Make payments only to authorized AEP Ohio agents or through AEPOhio.com.
  • Remember that AEP Ohio employees will always show company ID when you ask.
  • If you’re ever in doubt about someone’s identity, call AEP Ohio at (800) 672-2231.

If you think you’re being targeted by a scammer, call AEP Ohio to report it. Representatives can verify your account status. AEP Ohio tracks scam attempts and works with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute scammers.

Follow us on social media. AEP Ohio monitors the latest threats and alerts customers through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. For more information visit www.AEPOhio.com/StopScams.

Special to the Inquirer

By AEP of Ohio