TCEC warns members to beware of scammers
TCEC has received reports of scams recently. In one instance, the caller ID showed TCEC and our phone number and the caller asked to verify credit card information. TCEC will never call and ask you to verify your financial or account information.
Many scams start when a customer receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a utility representative. The scammer warns that the utility will disconnect the customer’s electric service if the customer fails to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe.
Scammers have even duplicated the utility’s upfront Interactive Voice Response system, so when customers call back phone numbers provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate phone number. Some of these criminals also use caller ID spoofing to replicate the customer service number.
Red flags for scam activity
- The thief becomes angry and tells the customer 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 customer 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 utility.
- The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.
How to protect yourself
- TCEC never asks or requires 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, hang up and call the local police then call TCEC using the phone number found on your bill. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.
Visit www.tcec.coop or call 580.652.2418 for more information.
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