• 1 week after spoofing scam, MLGW's automated survey causing confusion for customers

    By: Leah Jordan

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Last week, MLGW warned customers of a spoofing scam. Scammers made MLGW’s phone number the number that pops up on the screen while calling unsuspecting customers, then scared those customers into giving them money. 

    The scammers threatened that the customer’s power will be disconnected if they don’t pay up. 

    Fast forward to this week: MLGW conducted a legitimate customer service survey via automated calls, but customers are complaining that the phone calls are coming up with different caller IDs for different customers. 

    Some see “MLGW Customer Care” as the caller ID, and others see “State of TN,” which some customers said is causing confusion.


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    FOX13’s Leah Jordan asked MLGW’s VP of Community and External Affairs, Gale Jones Carson, if she believes the automated survey was conducted at a poor time given last week’s spoofing scare.

    “We have scams all the time,” Jones Carson said. 

    She walked FOX13 through the most recent scam MLGW has been informed of.

    “They will call our business customers, residential customers, and tell them to go out and buy a [Green Dot MoneyPack] card. And somehow, they know how much customers owe MLGW,” she said.

    In fact, just last week, an MLGW customer lost $6,000 to that spoofing scam.

    Now, MLGW’s legitimate, automated survey is causing confusion among customers. 

    “On some peoples’ caller ID it showed ‘State of TN.’ It didn’t mean State of Tennessee government. It just meant it’s a number in Tennessee,” Jones Carson said. 

    Jordan spoke to an MLGW customer who didn’t want to go on camera. He said he was one of the customers who received a call from MLGW – but the caller ID said ‘State of TN.’ That customer told FOX13 that when he saw the phone call labeled as ’State of TN,’ he thought the call was going to be about taxes, or “some sort of bad news.”

    MLGW spokespeople tell FOX13 they’ve done research and reached out to their third-party vendor about the issue. They claim that what shows up on the caller ID completely depends on who the customer’s phone carrier is. 

    “We did a lot of research on why sometimes it shows up with our caller ID and sometimes the State of TN,” Jones Carson said. “We were told by everyone involved, all the technical people, it is tied the vendor, whoever their carrier is. We are very sorry about that confusion,” she said. 

    FOX13 has filed an open records request to learn more about the specifics of the contracts between MLGW and contractors and/or third-party telephone companies. 

    The newsroom is still awaiting those documents and will update this story when that information becomes available. 

    In the meantime, MLGW spokespeople urge customers to never pay for any MLGW bills with money cards, as that is not how they do business.

    If you’re ever unsure of whether a phone call is real, hang up and dial the phone number yourself to ensure you’re talking to the people you think you are, and not scam artists.

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