Columbia police warn of holiday phone scams
Columbia, SC (WOLO) — ‘Tis the season for scams and the Columbia police are asking you to be vigilant and extra careful during the holiday season when they say a majority of these types of crimes tend to increase.
CPD says, Tuesday afternoon, a Columbia resident notified police of a phone call they deemed suspicious after they say someone claimed to represent Dominion Energy and told the victim they would turn off their power if they didn’t pay late electricity bills within an hour.
According to authorities, the caller gave the victim several options where they could go and make a cash payment that would keep them from losing electrical service. In this case, police say the victim followed the proper procedure to keep the scammer from getting over on them. Officials say the person not only reported the incident to police, but also contacted their financial institution to confirm that payments were in fact made on the electric bills, and then went a step further to contact the actual electric company to ask questions about the call.
Below are some tips CPD says have been provided by the Federal Trade Commission as the holiday approaches and would be thieves prey on scamming you out of your hard earned money.
Avoid Becoming a Victim
- There is no prize. Caller may say that you have been ‘selected’ for an offer but you need to offer payment to receive it.
- You or a loved one will not be arrested. Scammers may pretend to be law enforcement or a federal agency and will arrest you or impose fines for lack of payment. Legitimate agencies don’t make threats or ask for payment over the phone.
- There’s not a good reason to send cash, gift cards, or use a money transfer app to avoid criminal repercussions or loss of power.
- Government agencies will not call you to confirm sensitive personal information.
- If you believe that the call is a scam, hang up and report it to local law enforcement immediately.