LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A local woman wants to warn others of an Entergy imposter scam she fell victim to. She says she was scammed out of $2,100 out of her own money in the form of Bitcoin when the scammer threatened to have her power disconnected. Now, she’s warning others this can happen to anyone.
Becky Addison, owner of a local construction company who fell victim to an Entergy imposter scam, said, “I called Entergy and I said, ‘I just went and paid my bill, can you see if you’ve been credited,’ and she said, ‘Ma’am, you don’t owe us anything,’ and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve been scammed.'”
That’s the moment Becky Addison knew she had been scammed by an Entergy imposter. The scammer called her from an 800-number stating her business was two months overdue on their utility bill. She was then instructed to make a payment of $2,100 through Bitcoin or the power would be disconnected.
“In this instance, they wanted to use cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, being the currency of choice,” explained Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana. “Something that a lot of people are unfamiliar with and from what we understand, the scammers walked this woman through how to go to a local convenience store, purchase a certain amount of Bitcoin so that she could transfer that to them.”
And that’s just what she did. Becky was told to go to a local convenience store and use a Bitcoin ATM.
“I went to the Circle K. I asked the lady behind the counter. I said, ‘I’m here to pay my Entergy bill.’ I called him (the scammer). He sent me the barcode to my cell phone. I stuck it in front of the machine and the amount came up of what I had to pay. I put in the amount. He was very, very sophisticated and knew what he was doing. He said, ‘You’re going to get a receipt for your records. Keep it in case we have a problem later.’ I said, ‘Ok, thank you.’ I got my receipt. It printed from Bitcoin right here,” said Addison.
Becky then got a call from a different imposter saying she owed another $1,900 on her Entergy bill. That’s when she knew things were getting sketchy. She picked up her Entergy paper bill and called the customer service number.
“She (Entergy customer representative) said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with your account’ so I called the police. They came,” explained Addison.
Babin said, “Those bills, you’re going to get a series of notices especially before it would get to the delinquency point where the power would be cut off. They’re not going to give you simply one phone call and give you the opportunity to take care of it on this one chance before something like that would happen.”
“If they would put their energy towards something productive instead of trying to scam people, think of what could be accomplished in the world,” added Addison.
Entergy is aware of this scam and wants to remind customers they will never demand immediate payment and does not accept cryptocurrency. Here’s some tips from the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana on how to spot this scam:
- Prepaid debit cards and wire transfers are red flags.
- Pressure to pay immediately– scammers will intimidate you into giving them your personal and/or banking information.
Here’s how you can protect yourself against Entergy imposters:
- Call customer service. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.
- Ask utility employees for proper identification before letting them enter into your home.
For more information from Entergy on how to be on the lookout for scams, visit this article.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.