EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSBoone County Businesses Target Of Power Disconnect Scam
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kera Mashek
Web Producer: Kera Mashek
Reported: Dec. 4, 2013 10:13 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 4, 2013 10:59 PM EST
Madison , Boone County , West Virginia
Businesses across West Virginia are being targeted by scammers threatening to shut off their electricity if they don't pay up. Just within the past week or so, two businesses in Boone County have become victims of this scam and lost $2,000. Now, police are hoping by spreading the word that no one else will fall victim and lose hard-earned money.
"It's a busy time of month, a busy time of year. It's the last thing a business, a small business, wants is for their power to be shut down in the middle of the day," Boone County Chief Deputy Chad barker said.
But deputies said that's exactly what scammers are threatening they'll do to businesses in Boone County, if they don't pay up immediately.
The scammers call and say they're with AEP and that your last check payment didn't clear. They demand you get a prepaid debit card to pay up or they'll shut off your power.
So far, two local businesses in Boone County have fallen for the scam and lost a total of $2,000 in the deal. Police say the victims didn't see it coming.
"These are good honest people. Both the businesses we've dealt with are very good people, good people in the community. They were taken advantage of pretty bad," Barker said.
Other area businesses like Southern Fitness in Madison say such scams are disheartening.
"It's absolutely terrible. I can't believe someone would stoop that low and steal thousands of dollars from hard working people. You know, my family's run a business my whole life, so I know what all it takes, and I guess this just kind of shows how desperate people are and how low they're willing to go," Aaron Boggs, with Southern Fitness, said.
And this recent scam is a reminder to take steps to avoid becoming a victim..
"You have to be incredibly careful nowadays. People will try to get one over on you any way they can to take advantage of that. So you just have to be very cautious," Boggs said.
AEP said phone call scams like this pop up across the state from time to time. Something important to remember, even if you're in danger of being disconnected, AEP said it will never demand you get a prepaid debit card to avoid having your power shut off, and the company recommends if you get this kind of call, you call AEP to confirm whether you're in danger of being disconnected. The number to call is 1-800-982-4237.
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