Gulf Power is reporting an increase in scams involving its customers. Since Jan. 1, the company’s Customer Care Center has received over 400 reports of this criminal activity.
Scammers target Gulf Power’s residential and business customers and are known to attempt a variety of scams, including posing as a Gulf Power employee going door-to-door, over the phone and online. Scammers often threaten disconnection unless immediate payment is made via phone or in person.
“These scammers are becoming increasingly bold with their tactics, and technology is making it easier for them,” said Brandi Gomez, Gulf Power spokesperson. “Our customers can never be too careful. If you feel something isn’t right, take a moment to just give us a call. We can look at your account and tell you if there’s an issue or if a payment is needed. We would rather customers call us than be taken advantage of by a scammer.”
Gulf Power wants to help customers be aware of the tricks scammers use and to educate them on how they can protect themselves and their loved ones from being targeted.
Spot a scam:
• Gulf Power will not show up to a customer’s home or business to collect on a payment. If an account becomes past due and is subject to disconnection, Gulf Power will contact the customer via a prerecorded message to the primary account telephone and by letter requesting that the customer call Gulf Power to discuss the account. The company will never go door-to-door asking for payment.
• Beware of calls and emails demanding immediate payment. Customers have reported that scammers will call, usually in a very aggressive tone, requesting for payment through a credit card, pre-paid debit card or gift card. Gulf Power will never ask for any form of payment over the phone or through email. If a customer receives a suspicious call or email from someone claiming to be from Gulf Power and demanding payment to avoid disconnection, they should hang up, delete the email and contact the company's customer service line at 1-800-225-5797.
• Gulf Power employees are easy to identify. If a Gulf Power employee has a service-related reason to visit a home or business, customers will in most cases receive notice of the visit beforehand and the employee will always be wearing a Gulf Power employee ID badge with their photo, company’s name and logo.
• Gulf Power employees or contractors may show up without advance notice for the following situations: Lineworkers making repairs or contractors conducting tree trimming, surveying, testing or meter work along with other services such as installing new underground and overhead lines. If they do come to your home or business, ask them for identification or ask to see their supervisor who should have a Gulf Power contractors’ badge. When in doubt, customers can verify the contractor by calling Gulf Power customer service at 1-800-225-5797.
Stop a scam:
• Don’t make an immediate payment. Customers should never share their credit card or debit card information or purchase a prepaid card or gift card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. The company will not ask customers to pay anywhere other than an Authorized Payment Location.
• Verify the payment request. If someone threatens immediate disconnection or shutoff of service, customers should hang up the phone, delete the email or shut the door. To verify the payment request, contact Gulf Power customer service at 1-800-225-5797.
• Report the scam. If customers suspect someone is trying to scam them, they should hang up, delete the email, shut the door and call Gulf Power’s customer service phone number. Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers, should contact local law enforcement authorities.
“The safety of our customers is a top priority,” said Gomez. “We want them to be able to spot and stop scams and not fall victim to a criminal stealing from them or their loved ones. When in doubt, just give us a call.”
Gulf Power customers can also check on their account through MyGulfPower.com. The online account portal allows customers to view their bill, make a payment, review their business or home’s energy usage, sign up for text alerts and more.
For more information on scams, visit MyGulfPower.com or connect with Gulf Power on social media through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.