Aggressive criminals posing as PPL employees in scam

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State Police and the FBI are investigating a scam involving phony PPL workers. (WPVI)

State Police and the FBI are investigating a scam involving phony PPL workers.

Criminals are posing as employees, primarily targeting small businesses.

The scammers are calling customers and demanding they make immediate payments over the phone, threatening to turn off the customer's power if they don't comply.

The victims are then asked for their credit card information or their debit card information.

These types of scams are nothing new. But PPL officials say these scammers are especially aggressive. In Fact, the PPL call center in Allentown usually receives about ten reports of scam attempts a week. But last week alone they received more than 100.

PPL spokesperson Paul Wirth says, "We don't want our customers to be fooled."

He goes on to explain, "Scammers are calling PPL customers and demanding immediate payment by way of a prepaid debit card. We never make calls like that."

Among the local businesses targeted was the Taste of Italy Restaurant in Allentown.

Owner Andrew DiStefano says, "The guy was like, 'I have to have a credit card number, because in the next 20 to 30 minutes you're not going to have any electricity because your bill is past due.' I was like, my bill gets drawn automatically so there's no way it's past due."

DiStefano says that was actually the third time over the past year that scammers have tried to trick him. And he says, they have always called during the busiest time of the day.

Local and federal lawmakers are now working on this case. Meanwhile, PPL officials are urging all of their customers to be vigilant.

Wirth says, "We are working with the FBI and the State Police as well. There's an ongoing investigation about that. And we're hoping that these scammers are brought to justice. If there's ever any doubt, hang up and call 1 (800) DIAL-PPL."
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