West Virginia PSC warns about utility billing scam

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia’s Public Service Commission is warning residents about a scam by callers who claim to represent utility companies.

The PSC says a Parkersburg-area man reported that he had been bilked out of about $1,500 by a caller claiming to represent Appalachian Power Company.

Perpetrators of the scam threaten to shut off utility service unless a delinquent bill is paid within hours. They instruct customers to go to a store, obtain a pre-paid debit card, load money onto the card and use it to pay the bill over the phone. Scammers create a sense of legitimacy by making the utility’s name and phone number appear on the victims’ caller ID.

The PSC says legitimate utility employees would not specify a payment method.

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