Brunswick County warns of phone scam targeting water, sewer customers
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Brunswick County sent out an alert Friday afternoon warning its water and sewer customers of a phone scam.
County officials said in a news release they do not call utility customers about overdue utility bills in an attempt to collect payment over the phone before disconnect. There also is not an automated system to contact customers about their accounts.
“If you receive a call from an automated system warning you that your Brunswick County utility account is overdue on payment and/or is subject to disconnection, hang up immediately,” county officials wrote in the release. “This is a scam.”
In the event a utility account is overdue, a customer’s bill serves as the notice that an account is subject to potential disconnection.
“If you receive a call that seems like a scam, report the scam to Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office at 910.253.2777,” county officials wrote. “If you are scammed out of money or personal information, call the Sheriff’s Office immediately to file a report.”
The county also provided warning signs for potential scams – common ones being social security scams, phone scams, phishing scams using emails or text messages, and unemployment benefit scams.
- Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know. Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations. They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So the name and number you see might not be real.
- Scammers say there’s a PROBLEM or a PRIZE. They might say you’re in trouble with the government. Or you owe money. Or someone in your family had an emergency. Or that there’s a virus on your computer. Some scammers say there’s a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information. Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay a fee to get it.
- Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately. Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story. They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.
- Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way. They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), tell you to deposit it, and then send them money.
Learn more about how to avoid scams or what to do if you were scammed at consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.
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