The Sheriff’s Office continues to warn residents about utility scams.
Here’s the latest: The Sheriff’s Office was recently made aware of a scam in which a Florida Keys resident received phone call from a scammer claiming to be with Florida Power & Light Co. — the biggest power utility in the state.
One obvious caveat at the start: FPL does not provide power to the Florida Keys. Those duties are held by the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative in the Middle and Upper Keys. Keys Energy provides power to the Lower Keys.
The victim told Middle Keys Deputy Daniel Valdes that he received multiple calls from a thief claiming to be with FPL. Those numbers appeared as 305-913-8358 and 800-866-1546. The rest of the scam story is typical: The victim was told his power was about to be disconnected and he would have to immediately make a $498 payment to avoid any interruptions.
The scammer told the victim to buy a gift card and provide the code numbers over the phone.
Never make any sort of purchase or monetary transaction regarding gift cards online or via phone. If someone asks you to pay in gift cards, you are being scammed!
To all residents: If you receive a phone call/text/email from ANYONE asking for payment over the phone or online via gift cards, hang up immediately and call that person to verify the claim. Odds are you are being scammed.
Be particularly weary if the caller asks for gift card information. This is a sure sign you are being scammed.
Residents should never give personal, monetary or gift card information over the phone — TO ANYONE REGARDLESS OF WHO THEY CLAIM TO BE!
Anyone with information about any crimes should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.