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Polk Utilities warns of holiday call scam


Published on Dec 4, 2020


Bartow, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2020) – Phone scams targeting Polk County Utilities customers are on the rise.

Polk County Utilities has received calls from customers about threats to have their electricity service cut off. This scam is unique because the caller ID shows the Polk County Utilities main number (863) 298-4100.

These scammers are using a technique called “caller ID spoofing” which duplicates the Polk County Utilities phone number. By threatening to cut electricity service off, which Polk County does not provide, scammers hope to gain cash, credit card information or a customer’s personal or financial information.

“It is unfortunate that scammers are using concerns about financial uncertainty to deceive and harm our residents,” said Tamara Richardson, Director of Polk County Utilities. “We have contacted Lakeland Electric to make them aware of the problem and are speaking internally with our telephone and technology staff.  We also want to provide Polk County residents with the tools and information they need to put a stop to these scamming attempts.”

Don’t Get Scammed:

  • Never provide your social security number or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you
  • Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any Polk County Utility worker into your home or onto your property
  • Never make a payment for services to anyone coming to your door or calling you on the phone
  • Polk County Utilities will never ask customers to pay a past due balance with a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection
  • Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank withdrawal or by mail
  • Customers with a past due balance will receive multiple shut off notifications – never a single notification one hour before disconnection

If you wish to verify a call from Polk County Utilities, hang up, then call (863) 298-4100 yourself.

If you have had your money or identity stolen, you should report the crime to local law enforcement, depending on where you live. The scam can also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission on their website at http://www.ftc.gov/.