HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Huntsville Utilities sent out a major warning to avoid scammers after they experienced a rise in reported scam calls. The tweet comes the same day a Huntsville business owner says he was targeted by a man impersonating the utilities company in a ‘very realistic’ scam.
John Fibranz owns Copper Top Bar & Grill in Huntsville. Tuesday morning he got a message to call Huntsville Utilities.
“I was supposed to call him within 30 minutes or they were going to cut off my electricity. So, I called the number," explained Fibranz.
He recently brought out the space next door to expand his business. New space calls for more electricity. His deposit to add more service was $716.
Fibranz says his recent transaction was the topic of conversation with who he thought was Huntsville Utilities.
“He knew spot on how much I paid for my deposit and that he would send me a certified check back," said Fibranz. “He wanted me to buy a prepaid card and I told him that I wasn’t going to do it.”
The guy on the other end of the call told Fibranz that something went wrong setting up his service and processing his deposit.
Up until the “representative” demanded he buy a prepaid card, Fibranz said things seemed extremely legitimate. At this point, he knew it was a scam.
“It was crazy that you actually call a phone number and it’s saying Huntsville Utilities," said Fibranz.
WAFF 48 News tried to call the number back, but it appeared disconnected.
Huntsville Utilities (HU) officials say they never demand immediate payment and that if anything seems sketchy to give them a call. “If someone calls you and you’re unsure...call us," said Gary Whitley with HU.
If you ever feel uncomfortable with any conversation always call Huntsville Utilities directly. That number is 256-535-1200.
“I just didn’t want other people getting scammed," said Fibranz. "I didn’t want elderly people getting scammed because it’s actually really legit the way they come across.”