PPL warns of sophisticated scam calls


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s a phone call and a message you never want to hear.

“Your electricity is scheduled to be shut off later today due to an outstanding balance or something of that sort. And I’m thinking, wait a minute. I’m on autopay.”

A lower Paxton Township man who didn’t want to be identified was in his home office Wednesday when he got a phone call. The call, according to the caller ID, was from PPL Electric Utilities.

“It was so compelling and sophisticated, and I’m thinking, look, it’s hot out, I need my computer. I better check this out anyway,” he said.

He pressed “1” for more information and says a man who spoke in broken English knew his name and address.

He then asked, “‘Can I verify your account number?’ And I said, ‘If you’re with PPL, you probably have my account number.’ And he said, ‘Oh that’s another department.'”

PPL regional affairs director Jess Baker says the company will never call and ask for your account number.

“If somebody calls you and says that your electricity’s getting shut off and you need to pay immediately, that is probably not us because we typically mail notices or put them on your door,” Baker said.

The caller claimed the man was two months behind on payments.

“Unless you pay $286 and change, it was some odd number, your power’s going to be shut off today,” he said.

“I said to him, ‘this must be some sort of scam, and I know you’re a scammer.’ And I hung up.”

That’s exactly what Baker recommends.

“If it was a scam, please report it to us and your local police department so we can try to catch them,” Baker said.

Our man says robocalls to his work phone and cell phone are increasing.
Just as we just wrapped up our interview, he got a call about lowering his interest rates.

“We hear about phone scams a lot, and for whatever reason, phone scams and door to door scams sometimes tend to pick up in the summer, so it’s really important to be vigilant right now,” Baker said.

Baker says PPL won’t ever ask for prepaid payment methods over the phone, and she says above all else, don’t give out any personal information.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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