JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — We’re following up on a wave of scam calls JEA customers are receiving.
When those unsuspecting customers pick up, the person on the other side demands they pay up within half an hour and threatens to cut off their power if they don’t.
Within the past four weeks, JEA says it has received 71 calls from customers reporting potential scam calls, with 66 of those reports in just the last week.
One of those customers told Action News Jax why, like so many, he felt safe picking up the phone call in the first place.
He said it was because he saw JEA’s main number on his caller ID 904-665-6000.
He caught on soon that it wasn’t JEA at all. JEA warns that this is actually a common strategy.
Back in July, this JEA customer who wanted to remain anonymous got an unnerving call, telling him he hadn’t paid his bill.
“They did give me the exact amount of what I owed, so I thought that was kind of odd,” he said. “They were asking for a credit card.”
Then they added to the pressure by telling him, “We need you to pay immediately or we’re gonna disconnect you in 24 to 48 hours,” he recalled.
However, his account was already paid. “I know I paid it because I could log in and immediately see that it was paid,” he pointed out.
So he quickly realized exactly what this was. “Scam. 100% percent scam,” he said.
“When you brought that up, what did they respond with?” asked Action News Jax reporter Jessica Barreto. “They hung up the phone,” he said.
JEA says scammers are always trying to think one step ahead, which is why it’s warning all customers on its website they can spoof the official JEA phone number.
“It’s scary because that’s a real number from JEA,” the man expressed. “When you call the number back, it goes to JEA.”
Even though he knew better than to give out any info, there are still certain things about the call that put him on edge.
“How they got the amount, how they got the name and they had my home address,” he listed off. “It’s a bad situation.”
He shared his concern for more vulnerable customers. “I think of my parents, who are older, older people, when they see that phone number they think it’s a real thing,” he added. “So, hopefully nobody got scammed.”
JEA has shared the following guidelines and clarifications for its customers in light of these reports:
JEA does not request personal information or instant payments by gift cards over the phone. They also do not call after business hours, as some of these callers have.
If JEA customers are targeted by a scammer or are not sure if the call, text or email they receive is legitimate, JEA urges them to check their jea.com account or call 904-665-6000 and use the automated service to check their balance.
They also encourage customers to familiarize themselves with these tips:
- Never provide or confirm personal information (Social Security number, date of birth) or financial information (banking account information, debit or credit card information) to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a utility company representative.
- Never purchase a prepaid card or respond via a mobile payment app to avoid service interruptions. JEA does not accept payments via cash apps.
- Customers who feel that they are in physical danger should first call 911.
- Visit jea.com/scams for a comprehensive list of what to look for.
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