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Scammers preying on Entergy customers

A Brookhaven woman knew the call came from a scammer.

An “Entergy employee” — in a recorded message — told Becky Green she hadn’t paid her electric bill and her power would be turned off in half an hour if she didn’t call them back immediately with a credit card number to resolve the issue.

She didn’t even write down the number.

Green works at Henderson Counseling Group in Brookhaven and their bill to Entergy comes out in a monthly draft. It’s never past due.

So she called Entergy to inform them about the scam and then posted a warning about it on her Facebook page.

“I didn’t want other people to panic and call that number,” she said. “There are people that might get that phone call and they do pay it by check, and they think, ‘Oh gosh, I must have forgot to mail it,’ and they immediately call that number and give them their credit card. When they tell you 30 minutes and it’s like 900 degrees outside, you’re like, ‘Oh no!’”

Bill Howard, a customer service representative for Entergy Mississippi, confirmed scammers have been calling customers in Brookhaven and Lincoln County.

“Scammers are relentless, always looking for the next target. Lately that target has been Entergy Mississippi customers, as a new round of reported scams has popped up around the state, including in Lincoln County,” he said.

The scheme typically occurs when the con artist calls and tells the customer their electric bill payment is past due and service will be disconnected if payment isn’t made. The scammer then directs the customer to transfer funds electronically, sometimes through “MoneyPak,” “Green Dot” or another third party card or transfer system.  The scammers are also using spoofing technology to make it appear on Caller ID that the call is from Entergy.

Howard offers several tips customers can use to protect themselves from a scam:

• Never give your personal information to strangers. If a call sounds suspicious, hang up and call 1-800-ENTERGY (368-3749) to speak with an Entergy customer service representative. Do not call back the number that appears on your Caller ID.

• While you can pay your Entergy bill by phone or credit card, it is only through BillMatrix, a third-party vendor Entergy uses for this purpose, and you would have to initiate the call.

• Customers can manage their Entergy account 24/7 and review account alert options to stay better informed. Download the Entergy smartphone app or visit entergy.com to register for myAccount online.

• Only use authorized methods and legitimate banking information to pay your Entergy bill. Pay online for no additional charge at entergy.com through myAccount. Pay by phone through the authorized vendor BillMatrix at 1-800-584-1241 for a $2.95 service fee. Pay at a walk-in authorized Quick Payment Center with cash, check or money order. Pay through a bank draft. Pay by mail with a check to the remittance address shown on your bill.

If you believe you are a victim of this scam, you should notify the proper authorities — Brookhaven Police Department at 601-833-2424 or Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 601-833-5231.