Kissimmee utilities company warns customers about bar code scams

Received over 25 reports of customers being contacted by scammers recently

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Kissimmee Utility Authority is warning its customer to watch out for bar code scams after a recent spike in residents being contacted by scammers, officials said in a statement on Tuesday.

The city’s utility service said more than 25 KUA customers were contacted by scammers via text or phone over a two-day period.

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Of those reports, two people bought into the scam, paying nearly $4,000 combined after being contacted via text by people claiming to be KUA. The scammers told the victims they needed to renew their services to prevent potential service interruption.

Scammers then texted a bar code to the customers and instructed them to go to a gas station or a dollar store to have it scanned, at which point they received a second bar code and were directed to a discount department store, according to a KUA spokesperson.

Utilities officials said these bar codes are often linked to a scammer’s bank or PayPal account and allow scammers access to the victim’s bank account.

KUA said it will never require customers to make a payment in this manner, adding customers can issue payments by check, credit card or debit card if they speak to a customer service representative over the phone at 407-933-9800 or in person.

Customers can also make payments online or at any nearby Amscot Financial location.

KUA provided the following tips to help customers avoid scams:

  • If contacted by a suspicious individual representing KUA, don’t respond to the text or phone call and instead call the utility’s direct phone number at 407-933-9800 immediately.
  • Do not give anyone access to your personal information by scanning random bar codes or QR codes from an unknown phone number.
  • Remember that KUA will never require payment via a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card, a wire transfer or any other form of payment that may be difficult to trace.
  • Ignore suspicious texts asking for personal information such as bank account numbers, usernames and passwords, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers.
  • Requests to make a payment at a gas station or store should be considered a red flag for a possible scam. Customers approached for this type of personal information, or who believe they may be a victim of a scam, should report the incident to the utility and local law enforcement.

For more information, visit KUA’s website.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.