Alabama Power Co. is warning its customers to be on the lookout for a new type of scam.
The company says scammers are sending text messages warning that a payment is due immediately. The text message lists the name of a bill payment company and a reference number to use in paying the bill.
Alabama Power spokesman Ike Pigott says the reference number could belong to anyone and once the money is transferred it is almost impossible to trace.
Pigott says customers with questions about their accounts can call a 24-hour customer service number, 1-800-245-2244.
Alabama Power Co. is trying to stop what it calls "an unusually effective scam."
The power company says its customers have been called for months by people pretending to be from Alabama Power. The customers are told they have a short deadline to make a payment. They are instructed to go to a local retailer, buy a reloadable debit card for a given amount, and then call another phone number to share the account number on the card. Alabama Power says the fraud has focused on commercial customers because they are more likely to have larger bills.