Don’t become a victim to a multi-state scam that has made its way to Central Florida over the weekend.
The scam uses online blog posts and videos to instruct consumers on how to use an account from either the Federal Reserve or Bureau of Public Debt to cover personal payments for credit cards, car loans, college loans, mortgages and utility bills. No such accounts exist.
Customers are told to make payments using routing numbers 051736158, 051000033, 071000301 or 061000146 combined with their nine-digit Social Security number, making the request an easy target for identify theft.
The payments were returned by the bank for non-sufficient funds, resulting in a non-sufficient funds fee for the customer and the potential for a late fee and service disconnection by the utility for non-payment.
LAKELAND, FL (April 11, 2014) --- Lakeland Electric customers please be aware of a current scam attempt that is taking place where a caller falsely claims to be from Lakeland Electric and is asking customers for banking and/or credit card information.The caller claims that the customer's electricity is about to be cut off if an outstanding bill amount is not paid. The caller then asks for banking or credit card information to pay the outstanding bill.Lakeland Electric does not make calls of this nature and customer service representative will never ask for a customer’s bank account number or credit card number.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact our Customer Service Department at (863) 834-9535.
Help stop scammers now. Learn how to report scams online to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELPhttps://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1
Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 11:27 p.m.
LAKELAND | Theresa Kotomski wasn't about to let herself get scammed when she answered the phone Wednesday morning."It was a woman who did not identify herself, and I could tell she was reading what she was saying from a paper," said Kotomski. The 71-year-old Lakeland resident previously worked as a customer financial services representative for 13 years."It was 9:39 in the morning. "I'm on the Do Not Call List, which shows you all the good that does." According to Kotomski, the caller proceeded to claim she represented a company and that Lakeland Electric would be raising her power bill by 30 percent. The change would be ¬reflected in her current bill."They told me they'd be in my neighborhood the next day, and they could talk to me about other, alternative options," Kotomski said.Kotomski's call came from the phone number 813-750-8040. Multiple calls from The Ledger to this number were greeted with an automated message accompanied by hold music. The call disconnected after about five minutes each time. Eric Olsen, interim chief investigator for the Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency, said he is familiar with this type of call. "We have gotten a few calls about people purporting to represent utility companies or government organizations," Olsen said. "It's very similar to online phishing attempts." Phishing describes an electronic attempt to acquire personal information by posing as a trustworthy entity."The best thing for people to do, especially if they suspect something is wrong, is to call the utility company to verify," Olsen said.Kevin Cook, director of communications for the city of Lakeland, said there's only one way Lakeland Electric customers are notified of any rate changes."It's in their power bill," Cook said. He also has heard complaints from customers who have received calls similar to Kotomski's.Users at 800notes.com, an online directory of unknown callers, have posted complaints from the same number dating to October."It's probably a private organization that charges for audits," Cook said. He added Lakeland Electric conducts free in-home energy audits, and customers can call 863-834-6789. Kotomski called both Lakeland Electric and consumer protection, before filing a formal complaint."Somebody at Lakeland Electric told me they'd gotten a call from another senior who was crying because they'd told her that her power would be turned off," Kotomski said. "What bothered me the most is that I don't know how they got my number."Read the full article on The Ledger.com
January 27, 2014
WebFMEA’s Bill Comparison for December 2013 is now available. The report compares utility bills for residential, commercial and industrial utility customers categorized by consumption in 15 categories. The report is produced monthly and includes billing information from investor-owned and municipal utilities. Municipal Electric Utilities are the lowest in 13 of 15 categories. Lakeland Electric reported the lowest bills in nine categories. The City of Tallahassee showed the lowest rates in two categories, while both the City of Quincy and the Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach reported the lowest rates in one. For commercial bills, the report shows Lakeland Electric is lowest in four categories, Tallahassee is lowest in two, the Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach is lowest in one, and the City of Quincy is lowest in one. In the industrial sector, Lakeland Electric is lowest in three categories and FPL in one. For residential bills, Lakeland Electric is lowest in two of three categories and FPL in one. The FMEA Bill comparison provides a fair comparison of customer bills served by different utilities. The report includes utility rates, average franchise fees of 6 percent, local payments in lieu of taxes, and gross receipts taxes.To view the full report for the month of December click here.The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) represents the unified interests of Florida’s public power communities, which provide electricity to more than 3 million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.
Lakeland Electric would never call a customer and demand a bankcard, prepaid credit card or even a retail card such as a prepaid Wal-Mart, Walgreens or CVS card. Lakeland Electric customers are encouraged to sign up for eServices by visiting www.lakelandelectric.com. Through eServices, customers can monitor their energy usage, receive text notifications and pay their utility bill via a secure network connection. Customers are encouraged to call a real representative at Lakeland Electric (863-834-9535) if they have been involved in a possible scam by someone claiming to be a Lakeland Electric employee.
LAKELAND, FL (Mar 27, 2015) —There's a hot, new scandal happening in the utility industry that you're going to want to avoid. Customers across the country are reporting utility imposters who try to forcefully clean out their bank accounts. Dangling the threat of shutting off gas and electric if immediate payment is not received, these scammers are posing as legitimate utility companies, making it difficult for customers to tell the difference.One particular scam involves convincing customers that their electricity is scheduled to be shut off unless they purchase a "Green Dot" Visa credit card over the phone. The callers claim to be legitimate utility workers, but rob the innocent customers once they provide their financial information.Utilities have been issuing advice on how customers can protect themselves against these imposters.
So unless you want to fork over a chunk of change to a complete stranger, we recommend reviewing the following tips:If you receive a suspicious email from your utility...
If you receive a strange phone call from your utility...
If a stranger shows up to your house claiming he's with your utility...
It is important to demonstrate good judgment when dealing with your personal information.Scammers are always coming up with new ways to trick you, but if you remember these tips, you'll be able to protect yourself and your family.
LAKELAND, FL (Jan 12, 2016)
FMEA’s Bill Comparison for November 2015 shows Municipal Electric Utilities are lowest in 15 of 15 categories.
The report compares utility bills for residential, commercial and industrial utility customers categorized by consumption in 15 categories.
The report is produced monthly and includes billing information from investor-owned and municipal utilities.
Overall, the City of Quincy reported the lowest bills in eight categories. The City of Green Cove Springs reported the lowest rate in three categories, and The Town of Havana, and Lakeland Electric reported the lowest rates in two categories.
For residential bills, The City of Green Cove Springs is lowest in all three categories.
For commercial bills, the report shows the City of Quincy is lowest in four categories, and The Town of Havana , and Lakeland Electric is lowest in two categories.
In the industrial sector, the City of Quincy is lowest in all four categories.
The FMEA Bill comparison provides a fair comparison of customer bills served by different utilities. The report includes utility rates, average franchise fees of 6 percent, and local payments in lieu of taxes.
To view the full report for the month of November, click here.
Above content retrieved from FMEA site - http://publicpower.com/2016/fmea-releases-november-2015-bill-comparison/#more-12378
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