Scam Alert – Hang up the phone! - NEC Coop
Jul 25, 2014
Scammers Threaten to Turn off Your Electricity
Hang Up on a Phone Scam
If you receive a call or a visit from someone telling you NEC, or your electric provider, will disconnect your power unless you provide a debit or credit card or a personal financial account number, close the door or hang up and call NEC billing department or contact the electric provider the person claims to be with. If it is during the weekend, know that NEC Retail will never turn off your electricity during the weekend.
Chances are, anyone contacting members asking for an immediate payment is not employed or authorized by the co-op.
Prepaid debit cards are becoming an increasingly popular method of payment for scammers. Wire transfer services have tightened their security, so crooks have turned to these prepaid cards instead. The cards are difficult to trace, you do not need photo identification to collect or spend the money and transactions cannot be reversed.
“We want NEC members to know about this possible scam as soon as possible,” Sims said, “Do not fall for a pre-pay phone scam and contact the company directly using the phone number listed on your electric bill to make a payment with a credit or debit card.”
Tips for Spotting a Scam:
Because NEC does sometimes contact members by phone, it can be difficult to tell a scammer from a member representative. Here are some tips:
- If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card, this is a red flag.
- If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.
- Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask employees for proper identification.
” This type of scam continues to make its way around the country on a regular basis. All utility industries have been on alert for this scam previously and as long as the scammers continue to make money, it will unfortunately continue to be an issue for all industries” adds Sims.
If you receive a suspicious call, capture as much information about the caller as possible. After calling NEC directly to confirm we did not contact you, notify your local authorities. If it is during the weekend, know that NEC retail will never turn off your electricity during the weekend.
However, if the person is at your home, please be safe and contact the local authorities for assistance.