Don’t get scammed: Tampa Electric warns customers to be vigilant
Scammers continue to target customers with threats of disconnection
TAMPA, December 11, 2013
A scammer demanding a prepaid debit card continues to call Tampa Electric customers under the guise of avoiding disconnection. In the past three months, nearly 150 customers have heard from this type of scammer.
Because this scam continues to affect Tampa Electric customers after two years – and because December is Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month – Tampa Electric would like to remind customers to be wary of anyone demanding payment over the phone for their power bill.
This scam first surfaced in 2011: Someone impersonating a Tampa Electric representative calls a customer and claims the account is past due. The caller demands the customer buy a prepaid debit card from a local drug store and call back with the card’s number to avoid disconnection. Scammers appear to be targeting elderly customers who speak English as a second language. In several cases, the scammer ensnared customers, some for about $1,000. Tampa Electric is working with an internet telephone service provider to shut down some of the scammers’ phones – in the past three months, more than 30 phone numbers have been shut down.
Tampa Electric never calls to ask for credit card or debit card numbers. If you are uncertain about an individual's association with Tampa Electric, please contact the company for verification:
- In Hillsborough County, call 813-223-0800
- In Polk County, call 863-299-0800
- In all other areas, call 1-888-223-0800
All Tampa Electric team members and contractors working for Tampa Electric are required to carry photo identification cards. If someone claiming to be a Tampa Electric representative visits your home or business, request to see an ID badge or call the company to verify his or her identity.
Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated utility operations in Florida, including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System . Tampa Electric serves more than 687,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy’s other major subsidiary, TECO Coal, owns and operates coal-production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia.