South Carolina Electric & Gas urges business and residential customers to be aware that scam artists are posing as SCE&G employees on telephone calls. Customers have reported instances of individuals portraying themselves as SCE&G employees over the phone, warning of a late utility bill. Scammers will often threaten to turn a customer’s service off if the customer doesn’t make a payment immediately. In some cases, the scammer instructs the customer to purchase a prepaid debit card, or the scammer may ask for the customer’s credit card information.
Other common elements of these scams may include:
• The scammer often targets small businesses, such as restaurants, hoping to create a higher sense of urgency.
• The scammer suggests a specific store from which the customer can purchase a prepaid card. Scammers like prepaid debit cards because they can obtain the money on the card without showing a photo ID.
• The scammer uses the practice of caller ID "spoofing," which causes the customer's phone to display a false caller ID. Often, the scammer will "spoof" a local number, perhaps even using the utility's standard customer service number.
"If customers have any doubt whatsoever about the legitimacy of a caller, they should hang up and call our customer service line at 1-800-251-7234,"said Sam Dozier, vice president of customer service for SCE&G. “If you think you may be a victim of a scam, notify your local law enforcement agency immediately.”
South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs also has a phone line for reporting consumer scams: 800-922-1594 or 803-734-4200.