Scammers prowling for money zero in on TEP customers
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - When the phone rang inside Biscuits Country Cafe, owner Brian Drake didn't expect a sleazy scammer to be on the other end.
"This is troubling stuff," said Drake. "They said this is the TEP disconnect department and your bill is past due."
And Drake isn't alone. Two dozen customers got the same call warning them if they didn't pay and pay right away, the lights would turn off.
"They said they're going to disconnect us today, they're going to disconnect us today," said Drake.
But Tucson Electric Power wants people to know, it's not them. That's not how they do business.
"We never call and demand money and threaten shutting down service right away," said spokesman Joseph Barrios.
Now TEP alerting its customers online that scammers are zeroing in on small business owners, places like this local restaurant demanding hundreds of dollars they don't even owe.
"That's quite a chunk of change for a place that operates day to day trying to maintain and stay alive," said Drake.
So 9OYS tried calling the scammers back. But all we got was voice-mail. Drake tells 9OYS he got through once and let loose.
"I went off on him and told him he's ripping people off and scamming them," said Drake. "These people work hard for their money."
And if you get a call from this number, the best thing you can do to keep the lights on and keep the fans spinning is hang up and call TEP before you fork over any cash.
Now the Tucson Police Department is working with TEP to track down who's behind the scam. The company says despite these invasive calls, scammers have not breached customer data. If you need to reach TEP, you can call 623-7711 or click here.