Make us your home page
Instagram

TECO warns of billing scam

Tampa Electric issued a warning to customers Friday that scam artists are targeting them in a prepaid debit card scheme.

In the past few weeks, the utility has received about a dozen complaints from customers that someone impersonating a Tampa Electric representative has called them.

The caller claims the customer's account is past due and requires a prepaid debit card for payment. The caller then requests the customer buy a prepaid debit card from a local store and call back with the card's number to avoid disconnection.

In at least two cases, customers fell for the scheme. The scam artist appears to be targeting Hispanic residents and seniors, the utility said.

Tampa Electric, a subsidiary of TECO Energy, never calls to ask for credit card or debit card numbers. If you are uncertain about an individual's association with Tampa Electric, please contact the company for verification at (813) 223-0800 in Hillsborough County; (863) 299-0800 in Polk County and toll-free at 1-888-223-0800 in all other areas.

The Tampa Electric scheme is one of a growing number of scams that have emerged with the sluggish economy.

Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission to help avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

• Don't respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial information, whether the message comes as an email, a phone call, a text message, or an ad.

• Don't agree to deposit a check from someone you don't know and then wire money back, no matter how convincing the story.

• If you get an email or popup message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply.

• Don't email personal or financial information.

• Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges.

• Know where an offer comes from and who you're dealing with.

TECO warns of billing scam 09/07/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 8, 2012 4:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Irish 31 brings flair, flavor to Wiregrass

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery opened its fifth location at The Shops at Wiregrass earlier this month.

    hillsevbiz072117: Irish 31 has opened at the Shops at Wiregrass with a warm, wood decor. Photo courtesy of Irish 31.
  2. Family fun featured at Lutz-area ice cream shop

    Business

    LUTZ — For Joe Schembri, ice cream reminds him of fun times he spent with his family as a child.

    hillsevbiz072117: Joe Schembri has opened the Ice Dreamery in Lutz. Photo courtesy of Joe Schembri.
  3. Clean Eatz offers low-cal options in South Tampa

    Business

    Inside Clean Eatz, almost everything is under 500 calories.

    Clean Eatz will offer healthy dining options in South Tampa. Photo courtesy of Clean Eatz.
  4. Salon brings a Parisian experience to Tampa

    Business

    A new salon in International Plaza, opened by French women Geraldine Jousseau and Estelle Mattingly, takes clients on a trip to Paris.

    Le Studio Paris offers a variety of salon services in International Plaza. Photo courtesy of Le Studio Paris.
  5. Ratings service Nielsen begins tracking live TV consumption on Hulu, YouTube

    Retail

    TV ratings service Nielsen will begin tracking how many people watch network TV on YouTube and Hulu to gauge how many viewers broadcast networks have through streaming, the company announced Tuesday.

    Nielsen, a ratings company, is monitoring how many viewers watch live TV on Hulu and YouTube to get a better sense of overall viewership. | [AP]