Elderly community targeted by FPL scammers
SWEETWATER, Fla. (WSVN) -- Florida Power and Light and city officials are warning elderly residents to beware when receiving phone calls from scammers about their accounts being past due.
Seventy-six-year-old Mirta Rodriguez is a retired factory worker. She became a victim of scammers.
Rodriguez said she received a phone call about three weeks ago from someone who claimed to be with FPL. She said they told her that her account was past due, and that she owed $200. The caller then said if she did not pay it immediately she would have her power cut off.
Rodriguez, in a panic borrowed $200 and bought a Money Pack debit prepaid card, which allows customers to load the card with up to $500. "He told me he was from the electric company and that I owed $200," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez waited for another call from the scammers. The caller then took the card and PIN number and took out the $200. "They made a fool out of me because I've heard about these scams, and my daughter always tell me not to give any information to anyone on the phone," she said.
FPL told Rodriguez she had been scammed and that she wasn't the only victim.
Officials want to warn the elderly community to be suspicious of these phone calls. "We see it a lot with elderly residents. They tend to target older persons because they tend to be more gullible, more innocent to these sort of scams," said City of Sweetwater spokesperson Michelle Hammontree. "We went and visited our senior center, and we spoke to our senior residents, and we told them the dos and don'ts of responding to a phone call and demanding money."
So far, it seems scammers are targeting Hispanic customers in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
Officials said if you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with FPL, tell him or her you'll call them back later and immediately call FPL customer service number.
She said she has learned her lesson and thinks these people who target the elderly "have no shame."
Customers can find more information on how to protect themselves against scams by visiting: www.FPL.com/FPLprotect
If a customer believes they may have been a victim of this scam, it is important to notify police immediately.
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