02 Dec Don’t be a victim of utility scams
Utility scams are a plague sweeping the nation, and Duck River EMC members are not immune. Criminals posing as co-op representatives try to bilk money from victims by threatening them with disconnection of electric service, fooling them into the purchase of electric meters and other equipment and conning them into revealing personal information that they use to raid bank accounts or run up credit card balances.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid being scammed:
1. If you have the slightest suspicion about a call, hang up and contact your local DuckRiver EMC office for verification. Also notify the police or sheriff’s departments.
2. Never send money, pre-paid debit card payments, credit card information, social security numbers, banking or personal identity information to someone who calls, claiming you owe a utility bill, with the threat to disconnect service.
3. Scam callers often give a fictitious name. This is a ploy aimed at getting intended victims to lower their guard. They also might provide a telephone number for you to call to “work out arrangements.” This is another attempt to fool victims.
4. The threat to terminate service frequently is made by someone who identifies himself as a “technician” and claims to have a “work order.” This is not the protocol or system used by DREMC for collecting past-due electric bills.
5. The threat of immediate disconnection is used to intimidate and confuse potential victims. The scammers hope they won’t check with their local utility.
6. Do not pay any amount for a past-due bill over the telephone unless you confirm with your local DREMC office the correct amount owed.
7. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by a call from your own area code. Scammers from other parts of the country or overseas can acquire local area codes to use in their illicit activities.