CAMDEN By BRADLY GILL
An area resident has alerted the Camden News to a scam involving a caller posing as an Entergy representative notifying her of a shut-off notice and requesting the payment be made with a gift card from Family Dollar or Dollar General.
She told the Camden News that she was suspicious when the caller told her she would not be allowed to pay her bill at Mac’s Fresh Market - which is where payments can be made in Camden. This, coupled with the fact that she had not received a shut-off notice, prompted her to call Entergy.
The Entergy employee told the woman that she had a balance of zero.
Regarding these types of scams, Entergy.com states:
- What is the national utility phone scam?
Across the country, utility customers are receiving calls from unspecified individuals claiming to be members of the local utility and threatening to disconnect the customer’s electrical services if he or she does not make an instant payment on a past due bill. They then direct the customer to transfer funds electronically, sometimes through money wiring systems or pre-paid cards. In some recent instances, callers have even started demanding immediate payment over the phone.
The callers often use sophisticated spoofing technology to replicate the local utility’s name and number on the customer’s caller ID box, making it particularly difficult for the customer to spot this scam.
- What should you do if you receive one of these calls?
Entergy NEVER demands immediate payment from customers over the phone. You shouldn’t give your personal information to strangers. If a call sounds suspicious, hang-up and call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) to speak directly with an Entergy customer service representative.
If you believe you are a victim of this scam, you should notify the proper authorities, such as the local police or the state attorney general’s office.
- How can I monitor and/or pay my Entergy bill?
You should only use authorized methods and legitimate banking information to pay your Entergy bill. We offer several convenient ways:
Pay online - myAccount. For no additional charge, conveniently pay your bill online by electronic check. Log in securely to myAccount to view and pay your bills.
Pay by phone - Pay your bill by credit card, debit card or electronic check by calling 1-800-584-1241. BillMatrix, our pay-by-phone provider, will charge a $2.95 service fee. BILLMATRIX is the only authorized credit card vendor authorized to process these types of payments.
Pay by credit/debit card - Pay your bill with a credit card, debit card or electronic check by phone (1-800-584-1241) or through the BillMatrix website, for a $2.95 service fee.
Walk-in payment centers - Pay your bill in person with cash, check or money order at one of the authorized Quick Payment Centers in your community. A convenience fee may apply (New Orleans only).
Auto pay bank draft - Automatically deduct your bill payment from your checking account each month. We’ll mail a monthly billing statement to you for your records, showing the bill amount and bank draft date.
Pay by mail - Send check by U.S. Mail to the remittance address shown on your bill.
- How can we protect our business from fraudulent claims?
Inform your employees and provide instructions for dealing with these calls. The methods that the con artists are using continue to evolve making it difficult to track and stop. Your best defense is a good proactive offense.
- What areas and/or businesses are affected by the scam?
Small businesses are currently the primary target, however over the years the scam has evolved to target multiple segments of the general population.