The following has been released by Cleco:
PINEVILLE, La., Sept. 22, 2016 – Bill pay scammers are back in action taking advantage of Cleco customers through fraudulent phone calls that demand immediate payment and threaten disconnection of power.
“This is a nationwide scam that has been ongoing for a while and has made its way back to Cleco’s service territory,” said Shirley Turner, vice president of customer experience management. “We are warning customers so they will not fall victim to these fake calls.”
Individuals who appear knowledgeable of a customer’s account call demanding payment of an electric bill using a pre-paid card. The caller will even tell customers where to buy the cards. Customers are asked to call back with the card number. When making the return call, the customer will hear a recording that identifies the number as a valid Cleco payment service.
“Our customers should know three very important points that could prevent them from being taken advantage of by these scammers,” said Turner. “First, we do not make personal calls demanding payment of overdue accounts. Second, our representatives will not suggest a payment method. Third, Cleco does not demand that customers use certain locations for payment.
“It is upsetting to us to know some of our customers have been victimized by this scam so we want to help prepare all customers to handle these fraudulent calls,” said Turner. “Business customers should especially be aware as callers seem to focus on our smaller businesses; however, that does not mean our residential customers should drop their guard. All Cleco customers should be aware and mindful that these callers are very convincing.”
If a Cleco customer receives a call that raises doubt, Cleco suggests the customer hang up the phone immediately, and call Cleco’s toll free number not the number given by the caller.
Customers can reach a valid Cleco representative by calling 1.800.622.6537 or visiting a local customer service office. Customers also can validate a balance on a bill by using the company’s online customer service application, MyAccount.