Jacksonville police warning customers of JEA scam

JEA customers are being ripped off by phone scammers, and local families have forked over thousands of dollars to thieves.

JEA said the scammers tell the customers they’ve missed two bill payments and they threaten to turn off their power if they don’t pay up in the next 30 minutes.

JEA said this week alone, 57 customers have reported scam calls, and five people have fallen for it, paying more than $2,000.

One customer alone paid nearly $800.

According to JEA, the scammers have been targeting Hispanic customers.

Grecil Devila said she got the call and didn’t fall for it, but it did take a toll on her.

“It feels really bad. I get so emotional,” Devila said.

“You cannot trust anybody,” she added.

Hank Lengfellner said his wife also got the call, and they, too, reported it.

“I have an idea of what I’d like to do to the people who are doing that, but that will not go on prime time TV,” Lengfellner said

Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said if you get one of these calls, ask the thief for the account number, which they won’t know.

Or, he said, you can say you’ll call them back and ask for their direct line -- which they won’t like.

“They want to strike quickly,” Carson said.  “They want to get you all flustered on the phone. They want to get you nervous about the loss of your cable, the loss of your electric, and all of the sudden you’re in panic mode, and they rely on that.”

Lengfellner has a message for whoever is doing this.

“I hope you rot in hell,” he said.