[image-1] Don’t entertain any phone calls claiming your SCE&G bill is past due, especially if they ask you to pay on the spot.

That’s what SCE&G is telling its customers after a wave of fake calls has affected both business and residential ratepayers.

During these calls, a person will claim to represent the utility and threaten to shut service off if payment isn’t made immediately.

The calls are made from numbers that appear to be legitimate at first glance. Governor McMaster signed a bill outlawing the practice, commonly known as “spoofing,” on May 18.

The caller might even suggest a store for the concerned customer to buy a prepaid debit card to settle their “debt” with.

Such cards do not require a photo ID, and can thus be used without verification.

“Scammers are persistent and creative, and their success is based on customer fear and lack of awareness,” said SCE&G vice president of customer service Sam Dozier. “That’s why we’re urging customers to remember how SCE&G does business. We will never call and ask you to purchase a prepaid card from a convenience store to pay your bill.”

Before the utility actually considers shutting down service, it will send customers a mailed notification and provide a courtesy call with a clear due date and amount.

According to the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs, 70 percent of the top scams in South Carolina during April were imposter scams.