Utilities around the country are reporting an increase in scam attempts, some successful.
In one scam a caller impersonating a local utility representative threatens to immediately disconnect customers’ power if they do not ante up prepaid cards or provide credit card numbers for payment.
Another scam arrives in your email posing as a link to your utility bill. Clicking on the link downloads malware to your computer.
Regrettably, members have lost significant sums of money when they’ve complied with these scammers’ requests. Once those card numbers are turned over to the scammers, utilities can do nothing to recover those funds, except recommend filing a police report.
Be aware of the scammer’s tricks:
- Scammers sometimes tell members who question the past due amount that they could pay a discounted amount to take care of the balance.
- Scammers sometimes have a member’s account number and amount of their last bill.
- Scammers demand prepaid cards, such as Green Dot MoneyPak cards, or credit card numbers.
- Scammers sometimes provide a phone number members can allegedly call to confirm the authenticity of the claim. Provided phone numbers go to the scammers.
- Most members who have reported this scam do not have past due accounts.
- Hover over an email reply address – without clicking – to ensure the actual address has your utility’s domain name.
Remember, if you did not initiate the contact – phone or email – DO NOT provide any personal information (credit card numbers, banking information or your Social Security number).
Additional cautions for our members:
- GVEA will notify you via the U.S. Postal Service if and when an account becomes delinquent and becomes subject to possible disconnection. Furthermore, a professional GVEA member service representative will ask you to use traditional payment methods to make payment, including coming to the office.
- You will not be asked for credit card information over the phone or asked that you obtain prepaid cards to pay your bill.
- You may be asked to verify the last four digits of your Social Security number to identify yourself, but GVEA will not ask for complete Social Security numbers.
If you have any questions regarding the validity of a caller or email, please contact GVEA directly.