Scammers faking real TECO phone number on caller I.D. to demand payment

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – David Keys is the owner of “Window Wonders” in Brandon and recently a call came into his business phone. The caller I.D. said the call was from TECO.

“I smelled it within a minute, within a second really. I mean yeah, it was a scam,” said Keys.

The caller told him if he didn’t immediately get a pre-paid debit card and pay his overdue power bill, his electricity would be turned off in 30 minutes.

Keys hung up and called the real customer service number for the power company.

A customer service representative told him they were seeing a huge increase in these kind of calls.

Keys isn’t alone, Rod Da Silva got the same call at his business. The caller was very aggressive

“He called me like five times and then I answered the fifth time and he’s like ‘Oh, we need the payment number so the guy doesn’t shut you off’ and I’m like, ‘I checked my bank account and everything seems fine,'” said Da Silva.

TECO says the scam calls seemed to increase as the weather turned colder.

“We’ve seen an [increase] in scam activity since just around the beginning of the new year. Primarily small businesses are being targeted, also some residential customers who might be elderly or who speak English as a second language,” said Sylvia Vega with TECO.

TECO says scammers are demanding prepaid debit cards and instant payment, but that’s not something the real power company would do.

“Tampa Electric and People’s Gas will never contact a customer and demand payment over the phone,” said Vega, who recommends just hanging up if you get a call demanding a prepaid card.

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