Columbia Police Department (CPD) officers are offering several tips to keep you from falling for recent phone scams that often become more frequent during the holiday season.
This afternoon, a Columbia citizen called CPD Headquarters to report a questionable phone call that her husband received. The citizen explained that someone claiming to be a Dominion Energy representative threatened to turn off the electricity at their home within an hour if they failed to make payments for late power bills.
The scammer also offered several locations where the cash payment could be made to avoid a power interruption.
As a result, the citizen made the right decisions by: reporting the scam to CPD, not falling for the scam, contacting her bank to verify that payments were made, and calling the legitimate energy company to ask questions.
Here are additional tips to protect your finances from would-be-scammers from our partners at the Federal Trade Commission:
- There is no prize. Caller may say that you have been ‘selected’ for an offer but you need to offer payment to receive it.
- You or a loved one will not be arrested. Scammers may pretend to be law enforcement or a federal agency and will arrest you or impose fines for lack of payment. Legitimate agencies don’t make threats or ask for payment over the phone.
- There’s not a good reason to send cash, gift cards, or use a money transfer app to avoid criminal repercussions or loss of power.
- Government agencies will not call you to confirm sensitive personal information.
- If you believe that the call is a scam, hang up and report it to local law enforcement immediately.