Scam Alert!

Published 2:16 pm Sunday, February 9, 2014

Thieves posing as electric utility representatives continue to prey on unsuspecting consumers across the country, including members of Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC).

A typical scam scenario happens as follows: A member receives an unsolicited phone call from someone who falsely claims to be a representative of the electric cooperative. That person tells the REC member that his or her service will be disconnected if the member does not make an immediate payment to the cooperative. In some cases, the scammer insists on receiving payment within an hour and instructs the member to either purchase a prepaid debit card and provide the details of that debit card or turn over credit card information.

Scammers were previously targeting mainly Spanish speaking members, but they have branched out and are now targeting members from many different backgrounds.

According to Brittany Tann, REC’s Coordinator of Community and Public Relations, the cooperative never contacts a member to obtain account or personal information. If you doubt the identity of someone claiming to represent the cooperative, hang up and call the cooperative’s office (252-209-2236). Victims are also urged to contact their county Sheriff’s department or municipal police department.

REC urges its members to be aware of this scam and asks that members share this information with family and friends to help put a stop to it.

The scam is not limited to REC as electric cooperatives statewide are warning its members of this telephone ploy as well. The callers are also contacting business owners in their effort to scam them.

In some cases, scammers have even falsified their caller ID to reflect a utility company’s name.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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