Telephone Scams Targeting Your Money - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Telephone Scams Targeting Your Money

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There are two active scams affecting some people in the Panhandle.  News 13 Problem Solver has the latest information on what's going on and how to protect your information and money. 

"Very vulgar like...everything, everything under the sun you could imagine and then hung up on me," so says Kimberly Rickman of Callaway.  She tells News 13 she started getting the scam calls from someone claiming to be Vince Geller and Associates just before Christmas.  Rickman also says, "And they said for different person.  I'm not going to worry about it.  Well, they continuously, continuously called."

So, Rickman called the number left on her phone.  She tried to explain that the person trying to be reached didn't live at her home now.  She tells us, "It was my sister actually. She (the caller) spit out her social security number to me her, drivers license number to me…why are you giving me this?... Gave it to me."

It was an easy check to on the internet to pull up many other complaints about this scam...which is really not a new one.  Other people…getting similar  intimidating, aggressive calls claiming that if an unpaid payday loan was not resolved an arrest warrant would be issued.  The scary thing, in some cases, personal information was given including partial social security numbers.

Rickman says there have been attempts to get more information about the scam artists…and "A lot of people have been asking for an address to mail something to..they wont give you an address."  Rickman has passed her concerns and information on to the Bay County Sheriff's Office to investigate further.

The other scam involves Gulf Power.  The company warns Northwest Florida customers to be aware of calls from criminals impersonating utility company employees.  Reports started coming in December.  Gulf power says the customers are told their electric bill is past due and power will be cut off unless the customer provides credit card payment or other forms of payment.

Gulf Power advises customers that:

  • Power company employees will never call a customer at home seeking any personal information, including credit card numbers.
  • Gulf Power representatives will never ask a customer for money when they visit a residence.
  • All Gulf Power representatives carry badges with picture identification that includes the employees name and the company's name and logo.
  • Call Gulf Power at 1-800-225-5797 if you have been a victim or have questions and concerns.

I spoke with Investigator Paul Vecker with the Bay County Sheriff's Office.  He tells me telemarketers and bill collectors are not allowed to threaten anyone on the telephone.  Vecker says it is important if you receive these calls to contact the Federal Trade Commission.