BCSO warning locals of fradulent Gulf Power calls

The intended victim received a call from a man who claimed to represent Gulf Power Company and informed the victim he had neglected to pay his electric bill. (Gulf Power)

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (PRESS RELEASE) - The Bay County Sheriff's Office issued a Scam Alert Friday afternoon after a Bay County resident complained he received a fraudulent call from someone claiming to represent Gulf Power Company. The scammer attempted to convince the intended victim to pay his bill using purchased gift cards.

The intended victim received a call from a man who claimed to represent Gulf Power Company and informed the victim he had neglected to pay his electric bill. The man instructed the victim to purchase gift cards and use them to pay his bill. The man gave the victim the phone number 877-886-0599 and told him to call that number once he had purchased the gift cards. The intended victim realized it was a scam and contacted the BCSO.

BCSO Criminal Investigators called the number and were connected to a recording that sounded exactly like the automated answering system that the real Gulf Power uses. However, this fraudulent automated voice instructs callers to hold on the line to connect with a live representative. The live representative asks for the intended victim's home address and the numbers on the gift cards that allow them to be redeemed for cash.

"This scam in concerning to us," Sheriff Tommy Ford said. "The automated answering system the scammer is using sounds exactly like the one used by the real Gulf Power. This may fool well-meaning residents trying to pay a bill. Please remember no utility company will ever tell you to pay an outstanding bill using gift cards."

If anyone has been victimized by a scam, please contact your local law enforcement agency.