JEA scam alert: Utility will NEVER ask you to pay with gift card

Utility warns of fake calls threatening disconnection of service in 30 minutes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Scammers are coming out of the woodwork during the coronavirus pandemic, and JEA is warning of an ongoing scam threatening to cut off a customer’s service if they don’t pay immediately.

While the scam is not new, it’s causing some serious concern as JEA plans to re-start disconnections on delinquent bills, beginning next week.

The city-owned utility had put a pause on all disconnections during the pandemic lockdown.

Despite that, scammers have still been trying to trick customers into giving up their cash with calls that include messages like this:

You will be experiencing a disconnection of service today, within 30 minutes. Due to nonpayment on the account. Please press 1 to speak with a representative.

Sheila Pressley from JEA said if you receive a call with this message, hang up because it is 100% a scam.

“No. 1, we will never call you and tell you we’re going to disconnect you in 30 minutes,” Pressley said.

She said the callers claim a customer is behind on utility payments and then instruct the customer to get a “MoneyPak” payment card at Winn-Dixie, CVS or Walgreens and to call back with payment in 30 minutes.

“We will never ask you to give us a debit card or go to a store and purchase a debit card or transfer money via cash app, Venmo or any of those solutions,” Pressley said. “Call JEA if you receive a call and it doesn’t make sense. Call JEA and we will confirm if you are disconnection eligible.”

If you are threatened with immediate disconnection, customers should hang up the phone, delete the email, and/or shut the door right away.

JEA customers who suspect someone is trying to scam them should call 904-665-6000 to report it. DO NOT call the phone number provided in the message.

The scammers like to use scare tactics and pressure to get people to pay. But if you’re unsure whether a call is a scam, just take a second and ask yourself, “Does JEA really want me paying my bill in a gift card?”

Pressley said the answer is absolutely not!

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