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Cape Coral Police Department warns of electric bill-paying scam

By Staff | Sep 11, 2010

By TIFFANY REPECKI, trepecki@breezenewspapers.com
A new scam has popped up that involves a company offering to pay a portion of one’s electric bill for a period of time for a fee, according to police.
A woman contacted the Cape Coral Police Department on Wednesday to report a telephone solicitation from an individual who said he was associated with a company called FPL International, according to officials.
The caller said FPL International would pay half of the woman’s electric bill for one year for a small, upfront fee.
The woman obtained the company’s telephone number and contacted Lee County Electric Cooperative, which told her it is unaware of the service or FPL International. Connie Barron, a spokeswoman for the Cape police, said the woman did not provide the company with any money.
“This one sounds like a new one,” Barron said of the scam.
“We thought it would be a good idea to get it out there,” she said.
According to officials, a Cape police officer called the company’s telephone number and inquired about the service. A man who answered the phone told the officer that his company would pay half of an electric bill each month for the next year for a fee of $399.
When asked where the payment should be sent, the man provided the officer with two addresses. Both were located outside of the Cape.
A check by police revealed both addresses were in residential neighborhoods. Also, the Better Business Bureau has no listing or telephone number for FPL International.
“It’s an economic crimes issue,” Barron said.
Police are advising residents who receive a solicitation from the company to decline the offer and refuse to provide funds or access to funds.
Barron said LCEC is aware of the scam, and LCEC officials are passing the information on to LCEC customer service representatives for those who call with questions.
Citizens who believe they have been a victim of this scam, or any other scam, are urged to call the Cape Coral Police Department at 574-3223.
If residents have a question about a solicitation from an unknown company, they should get the name of the business and a contact number. They should then call the Better Business Bureau at (800) 525-1447 to verify that the business is legitimate and in good standing, according to officials.
Barron added that residents can also contact the city of Cape Coral’s Business Licensing Division at 574-0726 to confirm if the company has a valid business license in the city.