News 12 at 6 o'clock / Jan. 13, 2014
AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW)
"It made me nervous and you know and my business along with every other small business I know. It's our livelihood," said Jeff Freehof owner of Garlic Clove restaurant in Evans.
He says he received a call from someone claiming to be with Georgia Power and it left him a bit shocked. "He sounded official. He sounded convincing," said Freehof.
He says the caller told him he owed $1500 and it was past due and that a disconnect crew was on the way to pull the plug within an hour. He said he told the caller there was a mistake and that he always pays his bills on time.
"He said well, because of some computer glitch it got kicked back and its being returned," said Freehof. And that he needed to purchase a GreenDot card and provide them with the numbers. "I'm thinking this stinks to high heaven," said Freehof. Skeptical, Freehof said he started asking questions. "I said what time period is that for and he said that's for the last 3 months and right there I said scam," said Freehof.
Georgia Power is warning its customers about unauthorized phone calls from con artists claiming to represent the company. It says if you get a call claiming your account is past due hang up the phone.
The company says: it does not call or visit customers to ask for personal or financial information like a credit card, debit card, banking information, or social security number over the phone.
Freehof is hoping his message will help others to avoid this scam. "Fortunately we realized it before we acted. We asked the right questions and I think that's what's important," said Freehof.
Georgia Power says if your account is ever past due it will contact you with a pre-automated phone message advising you to contact them.