<h1>Scammers are calling Appalachian Power customers and instructing them to make an immediate payment or have their service disconnected.<\/h1>\r\n\u201cIn the last several days, we\u2019ve received dozens of reports from customers who have been targeted by the scam,\u201d said Jeri Matheney, Appalachian Power spokesperson. \u201cMost of these have been in West Virginia, but experience tells us the scammers will soon move on to Virginia and Tennessee.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn some cases, customers are ordered to purchase prepaid debit cards, such as a Vanilla or Green Dot, and call a toll-free number to provide the card information.\u00a0 In a new twist, sometimes customers are told to pay in person.\r\n\r\nUtility company scams unfortunately are common, although the tools scammers use are always changing. In this instance the scammer goes to great lengths to make the phony toll-free number appear authentic to customers who may be skeptical. When customers dial the number, they hear a recording that sounds genuine - but it isn\u2019t.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere\u2019s an urgent, demanding nature to the calls, which should raise red flags,\u201d Matheney said.\r\n\r\nWhile there are instances when Appalachian Power will contact customers over the phone, the company does not demand immediate payment in this manner, she said.\u00a0 Customers have 24 hours to make payment arrangements before disconnection.\r\n\r\nAppalachian Power\u2019s toll free numbers are provided on the company\u2019s website, www.AppalachianPower.com. In West Virginia, the toll free number for Appalachian Power is 800-982-4237; in Virginia, it is 800-956-4237; and in Tennessee, the toll free number is 800-967-4237.\r\n\r\n\u201cIf customers receive suspicious, urgent, demanding phone calls from someone claiming to be with Appalachian Power or AEP, we suggest they hang up and contact us at the toll-free number listed on their bills, or call local law enforcement,\u201d Matheney said.\r\n\r\nHere are some tips consumers can use to stop a scammer:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Confirm that you are speaking to a utility representative. If you have any concerns, tell the caller that you will independently check the phone number for the utility to verify the caller\u2019s identity and information.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Be wary of anyone demanding immediate payment or payment in forms that are difficult to trace, such as Western Union, Vanilla or Green Dot cash cards.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers, or any other personal identification numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or sends an email requesting information.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Never allow anyone claiming to be a utility service person into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment and the person has proper identification. Lock the door and contact police if you become concerned about your safety.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\nMore tips can be found at https:\/\/www.appalachianpower.com\/account\/bills\/scams\/\r\n\r\nAppalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation\u2019s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines.\u00a0 AEP ranks among the nation\u2019s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers.