CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) is warning residents of a recent phone scam being made in the state.
The PSC is warning about calls made in which imposters claim to represent Appalachian Electric Power Company and threaten to shut off the customer’s power within an hour due to unpaid bills unless an immediate payment is made through an online banking service. If the call is not answered, a message is left directing customers to call 1-888-432-9056. When someone calls that number a recording says, “Welcome to Appalachian Power’s Customer Service Center” and gives options including to press “0” to speak with a representative where the scammers will attempt to get payment.
The Commission has received multiple complaints of the same scam.
“If a caller claims to be from your utility and threatens to shut off your service, hang up on them and call the utility to verify any amount you may owe on your bill and to report the scam,” warned PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane. “Legitimate utility company employees will never insist on one specific form of payment. These scammers are criminals, and customers should never interact with them. Do not share your banking or credit card information with anyone you cannot confirm is a legitimate utility representative. And never share your personal information including your Social Security number. Only use the customer service phone number printed on your utility bill. We want everyone to be safe and protected during these turbulent times. Knowing how to identify a possible scam is part of that effort.”