Thursday July 25, 2024
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Attorney General Andy Beshear issued a Scam Alert to warn Kentuckians of reports of suspicious calls being made to utility customers in southeastern Kentucky.

Kentuckians in Harlan, London and Pineville reported receiving a call from someone claiming to be a utility company employee who asks for a utility bill payment over the phone. If the customer refuses to pay immediately, the scammer threatens to shut off the customer’s electricity.

“One of our top priorities is to help protect Kentuckians, especially senior citizens, from scams by warning them of the latest scams and providing tips on how to identify each scam,” Beshear said. “The best way to avoid this utility scam is to contact the utility company directly and verify any billing questions.”

Beshear said utility companies work to educate and warn customers of these types of scams and offered these tips to help others avoid the scam:

  • Do not provide your personal information. Utility companies will never call and ask for credit or debit card numbers or other personal information.
  • Contact your utility company. Customers who receive a suspicious solicitor at their home or a phone call, email or letter should contact their utility provider to verify. Do not rely on information or a phone number provided by the suspected scammer.
  • Ask about bill payment options. Ask your utility company to explain the variety of official and secure ways to pay your bill.
  • Sign up for billing notifications. Check with your utility provider to determine what types of billing notifications are available.

To report possible scam activity contact the Attorney General’s Office at 888-432-9257, or file a consumer complaint online.

Beshear issued a similar Scam Alert last summer when high rates of utility scam calls were being reported. Beshear said utility related scams occur in cycles and are often most common in the hot summer months and cold winter months.

In addition to the new scam reports, over the past eight months the Attorney General’s Office of Senior Protection and Mediation received 10 reports of utility related scams. The scam cost Kentuckians in Calloway, Fayette, Floyd, Grayson, Jefferson, Taylor and Trigg counties more than $2,500.

To help Kentuckians stay up to date on new and trending scams, Beshear launched Scam Alerts – a communication service that alerts Kentuckians when con artists are on the attack. To sign up for Scam Alerts, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311) or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.

agency-attorney-general1As Veterans Day approaches, Attorney General Andy Beshear is warning Kentuckians to be cautious of scams targeting veterans.

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, there are nearly 330,000 veterans in Kentucky who could be the target of scams.

The scams include calls and emails offering bogus military discounts and soliciting personal military information. Scammers are pretending to be a deploying solider or claim to be a representative from a bogus military charity.

“We owe an incredible debt to those who have fought to defend our freedoms,” Beshear said. “As we prepare to honor those who have served our country on Veterans Day, I want to warn our veterans and military families to be cautious of scammers who do the inconceivable – attempt to defraud them and take advantage of their sacrifice and service.”

Beshear said AARP has issued a nationwide alert to help veterans identify the top scams targeting veterans and military families.

  • Veterans Affairs Impostor Scam – By phone or email, a scammer may claim he or she is from the Department of Veterans Affairs and ask to confirm or update personal military information.
  • Deployment Scam – Con artists may pretend to be a deploying service member who places an online classified ad looking to sell an expensive item right away at a steep discount. The scammer will ask for upfront payment with gift cards or wire transfer and never provide the item.
  • Benefits Buyout Scam – Scammers may target veterans in need of money and offer to pay them cash in exchange for their future disability or pension payments. The cash offered is usually only a small part of the value of the disability or pension benefit.
  • Military Discounted Rent Scam – Fake online real estate classified ads may target veterans by promising military discounted rent. The scammer then takes a veteran’s money through a wire transfer as a security deposit to the “landlord.”
  • Fake Military Charity Scams – Scammers often try to use what sounds like legitimate charities and reference armed forces, veterans or military families to try and swindle Kentuckians.

Beshear offered these tips to help veterans and Kentuckians identify scams.

  • Be suspicious when asked to pay with gift cards or by wire transfer. These payment methods are often used by scammers because they are difficult to track and nearly impossible to recover.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs will never call to update personal financial information over the phone.
  • Donors who are not familiar with a charitable organization and how they use their money can verify what percentage of their income goes to the charity’s purpose on CharityNavigator.org. Additional research tools and resources can be found on the Attorney General’s website.
  • Veterans and their families should only work with VA-accredited representatives regarding their benefits. To find a VA-accredited representative, visit http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp.

To report a scam contact the Attorney General’s Office at 888-432-9257 and file a complaint online.

Kentuckians are urged to stay up to date on new and trending scams by signing up for Scam Alerts. To enroll text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.

In October, Beshear announced Kentucky service members and their families targeted by retailer USA Discounters will share nearly $1 million in restitution from a multistate settlement to resolve claims the company preyed on service members with deceptive trade practices.

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