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New scam arises

Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart reports that on Thursday, Jan. 21, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Tri County Electric Cooperative (TCEC) reporting a scam attempt that customers are reporting. Customers are receiving phone calls from (305) 848-0165 with instructions to return a call to (888) 481-5570. The customer receives an automated message with options to choose from that sound official. Once an option is chosen, a male voice answers and tells the customer that their account or bill is past due and threatens to disconnect the customer’s service unless payment is rendered. The imposter will ask the customer for banking information or instruct them to obtain a pre-paid reloadable card from a local drug or convenience store to satisfy payment. TCEC has confirmed that they do not conduct business in this manner and does not utilize any number beginning with (305) or (888) to contact members.

Sheriff Stewart reminds citizens that this same type of scam utilizing electric companies surfaced in Madison County in July 21 of 2014 and that this is in no way a normal operating practice for electric companies. Sheriff Stewart further cautions citizens to contact their local service provider’s office and speak with a representative that is known to them regarding any type of account discrepancies.

These types of case activities are currently investigated by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Often these numbers cannot be easily traced to their origin because the scammers use voice-over IP and the internet to route these phone calls all over the world. If you feel that you have been a victim of such activity or even an attempt, please contact the Madison County Sheriff's Office with any additional information at (850) 973-4001.

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