The holidays may be most known as the season for giving, but it’s also the season for grifting.

Alabama Power customers have reported scam callers in West Alabama requesting credit card or banking information over the phone. It’s a common scam, and callers can spoof any phone number they like to lend credence to the story they try and tell over the phone.

“It’s very important that our customers remember that Alabama Power will never call you and ask for your banking info or credit card on the phone,” said Alabama Power Spokesperson Danielle Kimbrough. “We will also never ask you to buy a prepaid debit card and pay us that way.”

But scammers aren’t just using Alabama Power to try and get your money. Other potentials include:

  • Local police or sheriff’s offices
    • “There’s a warrant out for your arrest, but you can fix it by buying prepaid gift cards”
  • The IRS
    • “You owe us taxes. Now give us your credit card number.”
  • Technical support
    • “We’re calling because your computer has a virus. Now give us your credit card number to fix it.”
  • Pretending to be family members
    • “Hi Grandma, I’m in trouble overseas. Please send me money.”
  • Lottery scams
    • “You’ve won the lottery! Now give us your credit card number for taxes.”

In general, don’t give out your credit card information to someone who calls you. Instead, hang up and call the company or person back using a publicly available phone number and ensure the caller is being truthful.

The IRS will never call you. Instead, they send notifications via mail. Police or sheriff’s offices won’t ask for money over the phone to clear up a potential issue.

Microsoft or Apple aren’t going to cold call you and tell you there’s a virus on your computer. Both operating systems have built-in antivirus programs these days, but if you believe your computer has been hit by a virus and don’t know how to take care of it yourself several stores like Best Buy offer virus removal or information backup services.

If a family member calls and asks for money, confirm their need from a second source before sending anything.

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