Southern Pine EPA suspends e-payments due to phishing scams

TAYLORSVILLE — A rural electricity cooperative in Mississippi has stopped taking electronic checks because so many of its customers have been scammed by people or websites claiming to represent the utility.

The Clarion-Ledger reports that Southern Pine Electric Power Association isn’t the only utility being impersonated by “phishing” scams.

Attorney general’s spokeswoman Jan Schaefer says the state has received 1,000 or more calls in the past week about such scams using utility company names to get people to provide ID, credit card or bank account information.

The crooks often claim that a federal agency or federal stimulus money can help pay someone’s power bill.

Utility officials note that account information is already in their computers, so they don’t call or send emails to verify or ask for such information.

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