Telephone scam threatens AELP customers

AELP's circular drive leads to a payment window. (Photo by Rosemarie Alexander/KTOO)

AELP’s circular drive leads to a payment window. (Photo by Rosemarie Alexander/KTOO)

Another telephone scam hit the capital city Wednesday — this one threatening to turn off electricity unless the customer paid up immediately.

According to Juneau police and Alaska Electric Light and Power, a number of local businesses and residential customers received calls from a man claiming to be a representative of the power company.

Spokeswoman Debbie Driscoll said AELP received well over 20 calls from customers who were told their power would be turned off because their account was past due. Then he gave them a toll-free call-back number for payment.

He was saying that his name was James Pearce and that he was demanding payment, otherwise power would be cut off in 45 minutes. He was telling customers to go to Walmart or Fred Meyer and buy a Green Dot card – I believe a prepaid credit card,” she said.

Driscoll said the scam is similar to several in Juneau over the last few months. The last one targeted downtown businesses, another hit AELP customers with Spanish-sounding last names.

“Obviously, we would never make those type of calls. Customers would get notified in writing and a friendly phone call if they were behind. And those calls come after not having paid in 60 days,” she said. “The other thing is we don’t take prepaid cards, we take cash, check or money order in the office.”

Lt. David Campbell said the Juneau Police Department also got numerous phone calls about Wednesday’s scam. He said citizens should always be suspicious of such calls and never provide personal identification or account numbers to callers.

Campbell said telephone fraud can be a lucrative business.

“You’re talking about very little effort on the scammers’ part,” he said, “and all they have to do is be successful on a very, very small percentage of the time in order to make it profitable for them.”

The FBI offers more information on common fraud schemes.

Recent headlines

  • Police form a line near Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, amid Unite the Right protesters and counterprotesters on Aug. 12, 2017.

    Can police prevent the next Charlottesville?

    "We saw it coming,” said a Virginia officer, but they couldn’t stop it. Still, law enforcement experts say measures can be taken — even when protesters are armed.
  • An Alaska Airlines plane at Juneau International Airport.

    Alaska Airlines pilots plan picket over lack of compensation

    Alaska Airlines pilots have reached a breaking point in negotiations with the company, and now have plans to picket outside Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The pilots plan to picket starting at 1 p.m. Monday outside the airport in Anchorage.
  • Obadiah Jenkins tries to help Daniel Hartung pull himself from Six-Mile Creek in Hope. (Photo courtesy James Bennett)

    Homer resident saves kayaker’s life on Six-Mile Creek

    Jenkins was taking a practice run through the class four rapids when a bystander filming the event, noticed another participant, Daniel Hartung, 64, of Indian Valley, flipped out of his kayak and became pinned under a log.
  • Vigor Alaska Shipyard Development director Doug Ward talks with Marine Transportation advisory board member Greg Wakefield inside the not-quite-finished Alaska Class ferry Tazlina. (Photo by Leila Kheiry/KRBD)

    Alaska class ferry Tazlina on track at Ketchikan shipyard

    The Tazlina is the first of two new Alaska Class ferries that the Ketchikan Vigor Alaska shipyard is building for the state. Its two halves are complete and welded together, and shipyard workers are busy getting interior spaces done.
X