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CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK: Paying your power bills in the right place?

Florida Power and Light is using this nationally recognized week to help protect customers from thieves who are using the company to steal your money.
Posted at 9:34 PM, Mar 05, 2024

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Some of us already know what it's like to be dealing with the rising costs of living.

Some of us also know what it's like to be taken advantage of — and to make matters worse, thieves may be getting very good at doing it when you're just trying to pay your bills and live your life.

Enter an unexpected crime-fighter: your power company.

The week of March 4 is National Consumer Protection Week. And Florida Power and Lightsays it can help you put these thieves out of business — if its own customers know red flags when they see them.

Francine Freitas is a company spokesperson.

"What these scamsters are doing... They're manipulating online search results. So they're showing you their fake website first, over the legitimate business," Freitas said.

This happens when you Google FPL, for instance, only to find a website imitating FPL. For some unsuspecting customers, the trap is sprung.

"They know that a consumer is far more likely to give up personal information if they are the ones that are initiating contact to begin with," Freitas said.

Another way "they" try to get you? Requesting access to your home.

"There may be an occasion where an FPL representative needs to access the meter box, in which case, the FPL representative, or the contractor doing the work will be clearly identified, and can give you a work order number," Freitas said.

Another thing to watch out for is a request asking you to pay FPL through Zelle to avoid service disconnection. Francine Freitas said this is another way thieves try to get your money. She also said thieves can even spoof FPL's name and number on your caller ID. Freitas recommends contacting FPL yourself to verify any communications you receive that resemble any of those described above.