(FEBRUARY 10, 2022) -- Over the past few days, AEP Texas has received indications that scammers are contacting residents threatening to disconnect their electric service unless an immediate payment is made.
Thieves regularly call consumers within the AEP Texas service territory and:
- Threatening to shut off power unless an immediate payment is made; (Note: As an energy delivery company, AEP Texas DOES NOT bill the end-use customer. The end-use customer is billed by their Retailer Electric Provider (REP.) AEP Texas disconnects customers for non-payment as instructed by the REP.)
- Telling customers they need a new electric meter, but must make a payment before the new meter is installed;
- Demanding a deposit is paid immediately;
- Offering a discount on their utility bill if they sign up for auto-pay (Note: Again, as a distribution and transmission, or “Wires” company, AEP Texas does not bill the end-use customer.)
More Red flags for scam activity
- The thief instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment to AEP Texas.
- The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.
- The scammers are calling from numbers that names either AEP or AEP Texas on the Caller ID. Moreover, they have a telephone recording that sounds like an AEP Texas phone system message.
How to protect yourself
- Call your REP to verify your account balance and date your payment is due. The correct phone number is shown on your monthly electricity bill. Calling a number left on the phone message may connect you with the scammer—not your REP.
- The REP--not AEP Texas--will notify customers that their account is past due and their electric service will be disconnected – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
- If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police and then AEP Texas. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.
- Customers, who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these thieves, should contact local authorities, and then AEP Texas at 1- 877-373-4858.
AEP Texas continues to educate customers about scams through messages on AEPTexas.com, through social media and public service announcements. AEP Texas also is working with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute scammers.
For more information visit https://aeptexas.com/StopScams or follow AEP Texas on Twitter, and Facebook to learn more.
AEP Texas, headquartered in Corpus Christi, serves over 1 million electricity consumers in the deregulated Texas marketplace. As an energy delivery company, AEP Texas delivers electricity safely and reliably to homes, businesses and industries across its nearly 100,000-square-mile service territory in south and west Texas. AEP Texas also maintains and repairs its lines, collects data from advanced meters, and handles service connections and disconnections as directed by the Retail Electric Providers (REPs) selling electricity in the area.