CHICKASAW COUNTY – Natchez Trace Electric Power Association has received a report of someone calling representing themselves as the EPA and saying if the homeowner does not give them a credit card number and other personal information their electricity will be cut off.
A customer who received the call contacted Natchez Trace and told them of the incident. The power company immediately recognized it as fraud and contacted the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department.
“The caller said the customer needed to buy a $300 card from them and could use a credit card to make the purchase,” said Norma Kilgore, General Manager of Natchez Trace EPA. “They also said they had a fire warning indicator that had turned red and this card would allow someone to come out and check their wiring.”
Kilgore said Natchez Trace does not do business over the phone. She said past due accounts are handled through the mail, with the customer asked to call the Houston office if they have questions.
“Our customer also said the caller asked for their Social Security number and their bank account number,” said Kilgore. “Natchez Trace never asks for that information and we urge our customers to never give out any personal information like that over the phone.”
Kilgore said the scam did give a 901-877-5620 phone number and all Natchez Trace numbers have the 662 North Mississippi prefix.
“Investigators called the number and initially got an answer bu the person hung up when certain questions were asked,” said Kilgore. “Repeated calls to that number get a recorded message.”
Kilgore said this scam surfaced in the Midwest last winter and has been reported recently in Northeast Mississippi.
“We just want our customers to be aware and know they could be the target of a scam,” said Kilgore. “If our customers get these kinds of call we ask them to call us and report them immediately.”
Over the past year Chickasaw County has seen calls from scammers saying everything from there is IRS refund money waiting for them to they have won a tractor or the lottery and need to pay the taxes to collect their prize.
James Myers, Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy said never wire or send money to anyone you don’t know.
“A reputable business has no problem with you asking questions or taking your time to check things out,” said Myers. “If they pressure you to hurry up and send them the money or put some kind deadline in there, you need to think twice.”
Myers urged anyone who gets a suspicious call to hang up and dial 911 immediately. He said most people who are scammed are ashamed and rarely report the crime.
“Doing business over the phone and with credit cards is more and more common and people just need to be aware of these scams,” said Myers. “I tell people if it sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t true. And if you are going to do business over the phone or internet, you need to be very, very careful.”