Southwestern Electric Power Company is taking part in an effort to warn customers against utility scams.
SWEPCO will join more than 100 U.S. and Canadian utilities and associations to observe the second-annual Utility Scam Awareness Day on Wednesday as part of a week-long awareness campaign.
Scammers target customers each day over the phone, e-mail or in person by posing as utilities officials who threaten to disconnect service in order to coerce payments.
They usually demand immediate payment or use of a prepaid card.
Legitimate utility companies do not specify how customers should make their payments, but they offer a variety of options.
If someone threatens immediate cutoff, customers should hang up the phone, delete the email or shut the door. Legitimate utility companies never send notifications one hour or less before disconnection.
If customers suspect a scam, they should call their utility company at the number on their monthly bill or on the company's website. If they feel they are in physical danger, they should call 911.
Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened during contact with a scammer should contact local law enforcement and/or visit the
Federal Trade Commission website at www.ftc.gov.