Swindlers posing as Santee Cooper employees still are targeting customers in Horry County, and the utility company is reminding people not to fall for it.
Gordos Tacos and Tequila reported to Myrtle Beach police Monday that the restaurant received multiple phone calls from a man claiming he works for Santee Cooper, according to an incident report. The caller said the business was more than $1,450 in arrears and the man requested the restaurant “provide three ‘money packs’ of $500 each, which he would stop by to collect in person,” the report stated.
“The complainant advised the male that the payments were made automatically at which point he responded that there was an error with auto-pay which has led to the large bill,” the report stated. “The complainant contacted Santee Cooper to inquire about the possible debt at which point Santee Cooper employees advised that the victim is completely paid up.”
No money was exchanged with the fraudulent caller.
“Unfortunately scammers continue to prey on Santee Cooper customers and customers of many utilities and the holiday season has provided them another reason to be active,” said Mollie Gore, manager of corporate communications for Santee Cooper.
“We are encouraged in that we’re hearing from more customers who have not fallen for it,” she said.
Santee Cooper reminds customers that their employees will never “force you to pay” with a particular form of a pre-paid card or other payment, she said.
Customers are also encouraged to call Santee Cooper at 1-800-804-7424 to verify that anyone representing themselves as an employee, actually is a Santee Cooper employee.
“A lot of these scams tend to happen after business hours,” Gore said, which makes it harder for customers to double-check claims from scammers. But “we’re not going to call after business hours,” she added. “The holiday season — every year, it seems to be exploited by scammers.”