SANFORD, Fla. – When Shawna Andrews saw Orlando Utilities Commission on her cell phone caller ID this week, she said she immediately picked up the phone.
“The call came in at about 11:40 a.m. right before lunch,” Andrews said. “They needed my confirmation number.”
Andrews is a veteran insurance professional who is currently working remotely from home. She said she panicked when the man on the phone indicated she was past due on her bill and could have her power shut off.
“I always pay my bill earlier,” she said. “I went online immediately and checked, and it showed I made my payment on the 30th of September.”
Andrews said the man claimed to be with OUC customer service. He had her phone number, name and knew she was an OUC customer. She said he claimed the company was updating the OUC website and that there had been billing “issues reported” that impacted many OUC customers.
News 6 confirmed the call originated from a landline phone in Sanford, Florida. Calling the 407-exchange phone number, it immediately went to a recording indicating the line had been disconnected.
Andrews said the imposter claimed he was going to switch her over to a manager so she could pay the bill including late fees. She said the entire call felt “scripted,” and he kept threatening that an OUC truck was on the way to shut off her power unless she paid $237.
That’s when Andrews said she called the imposter’s bluff.
“I said, ‘Your service provider is on the way, so can you confirm my resident address,’” she said. “There was a long pause, and I said, ‘Is this a scam?’ Then, he hung up on me.”
OUC spokesperson Tim Trudell said the company never threatens disconnection of services with a “pay or else” mandate to the customer.
Trudell said if OUC contacts a customer, it is at least one week before disconnection, and there is no requirement to use a pre-paid credit card.
Customers who suspect they’ve been the targets of utility scams should contact OUC at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 407-423-9018 and notify their local law enforcement agency.
Victims of these scams also can file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office at MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.