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Holiday scams surfacing in Forsyth, nationwide
FCSO

FORSYTH COUNTY -- ‘Tis the season to be scammed, or at least attempted to be.

National retailer Amazon is warning customers about an email scam targeting consumers’ personal information and credit cards.

AARP first broke the news about the scam Dec. 2, which has been circulating this holiday season.

According to AARP’s website and other news outlets, scammers are sending emails to customers that appear to be from Amazon.com, the subject line of the email reading, “Your Amazon.com order cannot be shipped.”

The email alleges there is a problem with order processing and informs customers they will not be able to access their account or place orders with Amazon until they confirm their identity.

Customers are then given a “click here” link, which opens to an authentic-looking Amazon webpage.

The fake site reportedly asks victims to confirm their name, address and input credit card information, after which they are redirected to Amazon’s actual website, where they can log in.

Amazon offers some tips on its website to check whether an email is legitimate:

• Go to the “Your Orders” tab. If the email doesn’t match an order in “Your Account,” the message isn’t from Amazon

• Go to “Your Account” and click “Manage Payment Options” in the payments section. If you are not prompted to update your payment method on that screen, the email also isn’t from Amazon

• If the “from” line of the email contains an Internet Service Provider (ISP) other than @amazon.com, it’s a fraudulent e-mail

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Sawnee EMC scam

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Local scams, too, have recently surfaced.

Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation, a Cumming-based electric services provider, is reminding customers to be wary of a phone scam they say pops up every once and a while.

Cindy Badgett, director of external affairs for the power company, said customers have, in the past, reported receiving phone calls from someone who identified themselves as a Sawnee EMC employee. The caller reportedly tells customers their power bill is late and that they will be shutting services off in one hour.

The caller then allegedly tells customers they can keep their power on if they buy a prepaid Visa card, call back and pay their bill over the phone.

“We get these [reports] from time to time, but we definitely do not call and threaten people,” Badgett said, “and we definitely don’t ask them to go out and buy prepaid Visa cards.”

Badgett said while the company does give customers a courtesy call if a bill is late, it is long before any service is shut off.

“We just don’t operate that way,” she said. “If someone’s bill is late we will give them a courtesy call but we don’t call at the last minute and say ‘you have to pay this or we’ll shut you off.’ We certainly don’t want our members to feel threatened or harassed and if [they are,] that’s a red flag that it’s not us.

“If they want to pay their bill with a credit card, they don’t even speak with a customer representative.”