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Although incidents have been few in number, there have been attempts to scam or fraud FPB customers.  We're posting the following information to make customers aware of known scams in the Franklin County area.

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COMPUTER/PHONE SCAM

FPB recently received some information about a possible computer/phone scam. A few FPB customers have received phone calls from someone posing as a Frankfort Plant Board Computer Technician.  This person told customers that they were having a problem with their PC and then the caller attempted to get information from the customer.

If you receive a similar call, ask for the caller’s name and FPB ID number. If you are suspicious, please call FPB at 352-4372 and talk to a FPB Customer Service Representative.

CALLER ID SPOOFING

A Caller ID service is susceptible to fraud. Using a practice known as “caller ID spoofing,” callers can deliberately falsify the telephone number and/or name relayed as the Caller ID information to disguise the identity of the calling party. For example, identity thieves who want to collect sensitive information such as your bank account or other financial account numbers, your social security number, your date of birth or your mother’s maiden name, sometimes use caller ID spoofing to make it appear as though they are calling from your bank, credit card company, or even a government agency.

The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, which was signed into law Dec. 22, 2010, prohibits caller ID spoofing for the purposes of defrauding or otherwise causing harm. In June 2010, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules implementing the Truth in Caller ID Act.

FCC Rules

Prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.

Subject violators to a penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation of the rules.

Exempt authorized activities by law enforcement agencies and situations where courts have authorized caller ID manipulation to occur.

To help prevent from falling victim to caller ID spoofing, please keep these points in mind:

Don’t give out personal information in response to an incoming call. Identity thieves are clever – they often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, creditors, or government agencies to get people to reveal their account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords and other identifying information.

If you get an inquiry from a company or government agency seeking personal information, don’t provide it. Instead, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to find out if the entity that supposedly called you actually needs the requested information from you.


PAYMENT SCAMS

American Public Power Association provided the following material on payment scams 

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) is warning customers of a new, nationwide utility bill scam. Numerous customers have received telephone calls from individuals attempting to skim financial information, the utility said.

The fraudsters are claiming to work for LIPA, demanding payment through a pre-paid card on past-due balances. The callers threaten customers that their service will be shut off immediately if they do not make payment through these pre-paid cards, the utility said.

In some cases, the caller also tells customers that they may have a faulty meter that is dangerous and in need of replacing for a substantial fee, the utility said. However, electric meters are the property of LIPA and are not customer-owned equipment.

Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.

“LIPA does contact customers with past-due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment over the telephone,” the utility said. “LIPA currently does not accept credit or debit card payments.”

Public Power Daily reported similar scams in Los Angeles, Calif., earlier this year. Impostors were posing as utility personnel and were contacting residential customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power by telephone and threatening immediate termination of service.

The Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD) in Massachusetts also posted a warning on its Facebook fan page, alerting its customers to similar scams. 

“The latest scam looks to mimic a message sent from BELD requesting your username and password regarding maintenance to your webmail account,” the utility said. “The message goes on to say that your account will be deleted after seven days. You can simply delete this message as BELD does not solicit your username and password through email.” 

Glasgow Electric Plant Board in Kentucky also reported fraudulent activity. 

“We had a report from a customer that another phone scam is going around asking for access to your computer,” the utility posted on its Facebook page. “Remember, if you get a call from anybody claiming that they need remote access to your computer in order to fix a virus or anything, do not do it!”

The Better Business Bureau advises the following in order to avoid falling victim to email and phone scams:

Never provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking. 

If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.

Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.

Always think safety first. Do not give in to high-pressure tactics over the phone for information or in person to get into your home. 


TELEPHONE SCAM 

Because some customers have reported telephone scam incidents, we are posting the following message and support from Microsoft's website:

Cybercriminals don't just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. They might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to your computer, there's no limit to the damage they can do.  

Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.

How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams

If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you:

Do not purchase any software or services.

Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.

Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.

Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.

Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.

What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person

If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:

  • Change your computer's password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
  • Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.
  • Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charge you for it, this is also a scam.)
    Note: In Windows 8, Windows Defender replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows Defender runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. However, you can use it anytime to scan for malware if your computer isn't working properly or you clicked a suspicious link online or in an email message.
    Please visit Microsoft's page for more information. 

UTILITY SCAM

This scam is perpetrated when a customer receives a call from someone claiming to be an FPB employee and stating someone would be coming to their home to replace their electric meter. The caller states their electric meter was using more electricity than it is supposed to and needs to be replaced. Customers are instructed to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak with $500 loaded onto it for the repair.


FPB never does business this way. Should you ever receive a call from someone claiming to be an FPB employee, and you have any doubt as to their validity, please hang up and call our office to confirm. Individuals coming to your home claiming to be FPB employees should have proper identification. Anyone who cannot identify them-self to your satisfaction should be turned away. You should also report any such calls or visits to local law enforcement.