The Energy Cooperative is reminding members to be aware of scammers posing as utility representatives, either over the phone or in person.
The most popular trick used by scammers is to place an unsolicited phone call to a member and state that the utility company will disconnect the member’s natural gas or electric service if the member fails to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe. Scammers have even gone as far as posing as utility employees, making collection calls at the members’ homes.
“The safety of our members and their accounts, are of the highest priority for The Energy Cooperative,” said Todd Ware, President/CEO of The Energy Cooperative. “We urge any member suspecting a potential scam to take immediate action by calling the local police and then calling The Energy Cooperative.”
Keep an eye out for these red flags indicating scam activity:
- The thief becomes angry and tells the member his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made – usually within less than an hour.
- The thief instructs the member to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment to The Energy Cooperative.
- The scammer asks the member for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.
How to protect yourself:
- The Energy Cooperative will never ask or require a member with a delinquent account to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
- Members can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail, or in person.
- Members with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification with the regular monthly billing – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
- If you suspect someone is trying to scam you over the phone, hang up and call the local police and then call The Energy Cooperative.
- Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.
- If you or any member of your family are suspicious of a person claiming to be a utility employee making a collection or service call at your home, calmly ask them to wait, close and lock the door, and call the utility for verification.
- If you or any member of your family feel threatened, call 911 immediately.
Employees of The Energy Cooperative are required to wear an Energy Cooperative uniform with The Energy Cooperative logo. They must also wear a personal identification badge with their full name, photo, job title, and a verification phone number. To verify an employee of The Energy Cooperative, call (800) 255-8615.