By DEUCE NIVEN
Just in time for the holidays, scammers are targeting electric customers in the Carolinas, with some documented instances in Loris.
Santee Cooper is reporting one scam, Sgt. Richard Kostanek of the Loris Police Department said. It involves a man who calls himself Jason Roberts calling local businesses, saying that if the electric bill is not paid within the hour power will be cut for several days.
A Loris business received such a call Friday, Sgt. Kostanek said.
Victims are instructed to pay via PayPal account by calling a specific number with a pin number.
“The number answered and identified itself as a Santee Cooper number,” Sgt. Kostanek said in an e-mail alert. “It is not.”
Duke Energy Progress in North Carolina has reported similar scams.
Every electric utility in the Carolinas says that when they contact customers by phone, they will have identifying information that only the utility would have.
They would also, never, demand payment with a PayPal or a prepaid card, and would never threaten to disrupt service with little notice.
Utilities do not notify customers by phone that there service will be cut off, they do that by mail. Also, the number to make payments by phone is printed on the utility company bill and should not be paid to another number.
Anyone who suspects they may be the victim of a similar scam, or attempt, should contact the utility and their local law enforcement agency.