SEDONA, Ariz. - A scam aimed at APS customers is once again spreading throughout the state, with more than 90 incidents reported in the first 10 days. The El Portal Sedona Hotel reported one such incident that began on Saturday.
The scam is said to be quite elaborate with plenty of attention to detail. Officials say the callers contact the potential victim, stating they are from APS, there is a problem with the payments (even if they're on auto-deduct) and that power will be shut down at a certain point if money is not paid. The callers may even go so far as to say they are drivers working with APS on their way to disconnect power.
The scammers tell the targets that they need to purchase prepaid cards from local establishments, namely Walmart, CVS, or Fry's, in order to make the payment needed to continue using power. The scammers will also give a phone number to call back, which has realistic-sounding menus, departments, hold music, and even live people to answer the call.
Once the victim calls back, they will be asked to read the numbers on the cards in order to make the payment.
In the case of the El Portal Sedona Hotel, the initial price was $1,000; however, the scammers told the owners that they payment hadn't gone through, and ended up repeating the process, costing them in total just under $2,000.
Officials at APS released a statement reminding customers of the following key points:
-APS never requires payment via a prepaid card.
-The only valid phone numbers to call the APS Customer Care Center are listed on customer bills and at aps.com.
-If there is ever a question about the validity of an email, website or person claiming to be an APS representative, call the APS Customer Care Center immediately at 602-371-7171 to verify this information.
-Recognize the signs of a phishing email: mismatched fonts, missing hyperlinks, improper grammar and misspellings.
-Never share credit card information with an unverified source. Customers who pay by credit card at aps.com will be directed to the KUBRA EZ-Pay website, which asks them to enter a “captcha” validation code. A “captcha” typically uses a set of letters and numbers that the user is required to manually retype and submit. Any other credit card payment site is fraudulent and should not be used.
For more information about the scam, you can visit the APS website.