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Service Disconnection Scams
In recent months, scammers have called local residents and businesses claiming to be from JEA and threatening to disconnect the customer’s service if a large sum of money isn’t paid within 30 minutes.
Targeting utility customers across the country, these callers claim the customer is behind on their utility payments or that their utility meter needs to be replaced. The customer is then instructed to go to a Winn Dixie, CVS or Walgreens, buy a “MoneyPak” payment card and call them back at the phone number provided with the MoneyPak card information and pin number to prevent their service from being disconnected. Don’t do it!
Residents who receive one of these calls are urged to notify JEA at (904) 665-6000. Commercial customers may call (904) 665-6250 to speak with a JEA Business Support Team representative.
Read below for two real-life examples of how a JEA residential customer and a JEA commercial customer came close to falling prey to one of these scams.
A scammer came close to fleecing Sandra Martinez out of a lot of money. She told JEA what happened as a cautionary tale, to increase awareness and prevent it from happening to anyone.
“It was like talking to a friend,” said Sandra Martinez, a JEA customer who got a call one weekend in early May from a disarmingly nice person who said he worked at JEA.
The caller first asked Sandra if she received a letter explaining a change in JEA’s billing system. Sandra told him she had not. Then he proceeded to weave a complicated tale.
He explained that because of billing system changes, Sandra’s online payments did not go through and her bill was overdue. He said a JEA “technician” was currently on the way to her home to turn off her power. To prevent this, she needed to go to the nearest Walgreens and make a payment using a “MoneyPak” card.
Sandra thought the call was strange but she agreed to go to Walgreens. “I actually got in my car,” she said. “But before I pulled out of my driveway I called JEA at 665-6000.”
She’s glad she did. JEA’s computerized phone system told her that her bill was up to date. “And then I got someone from JEA on the line. She told me don’t pay anything. It’s a scam.”
Sandra said the scammer called her back about 20 times after that, but she never answered the phone. “I wanted to though. I wanted to tell him, ‘Shame on you. How could you do that to people?’”
Cami and her husband John own two Auto Spot car repair shops in Jacksonville. They pay their bill online and on time every month. Their business cannot function without electricity.
One day, Cami got a call from a man who said he worked at JEA. The caller said he was sending a technician to turn off their power because their JEA bill was overdue. Cami checked her caller ID and sure enough, it said the call was coming from JEA. “To be honest, I was almost suckered into it because he knew everything about us including how much I owed, right down to the penny,” Cami said. “But I knew I had just paid the bill.”
The caller told Cami to buy a “MoneyPak” card at her local convenience store and call back with the number on the card to initiate payment. Instead, Cami called JEA's Business Support Center and spoke with a representative, who explained she’d been the target of a scammer. Cami was so angry, she called back the scammers at the number they gave her.
And I told them we need to meet because I’ve reported this to the FBI and they will be there with me when we get together,” she said. “And they laughed this evil, evil laugh and hung up. It was very creepy.”
Storm Preparation Tip
Make sure your JEA account information is up to date so we can reach you with power restoration updates.