Scam Alert!

Published 8:25 am Thursday, September 11, 2014

AHOSKIE – Beware of debt recovery notification emails.

Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) officials have been notified of an email circulating from a firm labeled “K & L Gates Debt Recovery Notification” claiming the email recipients have unpaid utility bills.

“The email is not from K&L Gates and it is not a genuine debt recovery notification,” explained Brittany Tann, REC spokesperson.

Tann said the ‘further details’ link in the email opens a compromised website that harbors malware, malicious software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer system.

“If you receive one of these emails, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains,” Tann advised. “If you ever receive suspicious emails and are unsure of its intent, please call our office.  Your cooperative will never send you account information activity via email without prior consent from you.”

An example of one of the bogus emails is as follows:

Subject: K&L Gates Debt recovery notification. Hereby you are notified that you have unpaid utility bills and your debt amounts to $45 for August 21, 2014. If you do not fulfill your debt-service obligations within three days in accordance with the applicable legislation, we will have to file actions with the court and apply enforcement options – in this case you can be evicted from the occupied territory (property rights termination). We are asking you to pay the arrears as soon as possible! See further details here.

The message urges you to click a link to read further details about the supposed debt.

REC and other officials from other electric cooperatives said the email has no connection to K&L Gates. It is not a genuine debt recovery notification.

This campaign is similar to earlier malware attacks that threaten eviction or claim that users must appear in court. These emails either link to a website containing malware or hide the malware in an attached file.

Be wary of unsolicited emails claiming to be from a law firm that threaten court action or eviction. Law companies and courts are very unlikely to send official notifications via unsolicited emails. And, official messages would always address you by name and include sender contact information.