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Office of Energy warns about new phone scam targeting homeowners

West Virginia Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Office of Energy (WVOE) warns a new phone scam is targeting homeowners across the state.

Energy officials say people are receiving calls from scammers claiming to represent the “West Virginia Power Company” or other, legitimate power companies that operate in West Virginia, including Appalachian Power and FirstEnergy. The callers offer to perform free in-home services, funded through federal grants, to make households more energy efficient. Scammers then ask for personal information, including the victim’s full name and home address, which can be used to commit identity theft and other crimes.

“If the caller cannot provide their company’s West Virginia business license and details about the grant funding the project, it is likely a scam,” says Nicholas Preservati, director of the Office of Energy. “You should never give out personal information over the phone without first making sure the call is legitimate.”

When in doubt of a caller’s legitimacy, homeowners are encouraged to ask for information to call back later. This includes the name of the company, a phone number, and their business license number, which can be cross-checked on the Secretary of State’s website, sos.wv.gov.

Some utilities have their own energy saving programs that customers can sign up for, like AEP’s TakeCharge WV, but there is currently no grant providing this type of free service for all West Virginia residents. The Office of Energy will inform the public of any such initiatives in the future. More information about WVOE’s current and pending projects can be found at energywv.org.

If you feel that you have been victim to a scam, contact the Attorney General Office’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-368-8808 or visit ago.wv.gov.

About the West Virginia Office of Energy
The West Virginia Office of Energy is responsible for the formulation and implementation of fossil, renewable and energy efficiency initiatives designed to advance energy resource development opportunities and provide energy services to businesses, communities and homeowners in West Virginia.

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