UNION COUNTY — The Union County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public not to be taken in by a phone scam claiming their electricity will be cut off if they don’t make a payment over the phone.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office stated that it had received a report from Lockhart Power regarding the scam. The caller claims to be an employee of Lockhart Power and tell the person they’ve call that they are behind on their power bill that if they don’t pay their bill right then over the phone their power will be cut off.
The press release states that it is not the policy of Lockhart Power to give courtesy calls regarding non-payment. It further states that the name and number of Lockhart Power showed up on the customers’ caller ID.
The sheriff’s office is instructing the public that if they receive such a call to hang up and call 911 to report it to law enforcement.
This is the latest attempt by scam artists using the telephone to try and con Union County residents out of money and personal information.
Earlier this year, the sheriff’s office warned Union County residents about a scam involving automated phone calls and text messages to trick people into giving out their credit card information. Initially, several residents reported receiving phone calls claiming to be from a credit card company. The call would give the resident a number and instructed them to call it and leave their name and credit card number and the company will call them back about problems with their card.
Sheriff David Taylor, however, said he’d contacted SLED and they’d confirmed that the calls were part of a scam. He said that the calls, which were showing up all over South Carolina, were originating from outside the United States.
The next day, the sheriff’s office announced that not only were the scammers using phone calls to try and scam people, they are also using text messages. Since it first warned the public of the telephone, the sheriff’s office received a great deal of feedback on its Facebook page not only from people who said they’d received the phone calls, but from those who said they’d received text messages directing them to call the phone number.
In announcing that the scammers were also using text messages, Taylor reiterated that the public should ignore the calls and the text messages and not give out their credit card information. He said that if a scammer gets a hold of that information they can use it to drain a person’s account.
Taylor added that the purpose of alerting the public to the scam was to prevent people from being taken in and fallen victim to the scam.