Scammers Fine-Tune Devious Manipulation Skills

NOTE:  If you have been a victim of a scam, please use the link provided to file an incident report with the police:  Link to Incident Report

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Utilities around the country are reporting an increase in scam attempts, and Fairbanks is no exception.

Over the past 10 days or so, GVEA has received numerous calls from members providing details of calls they’ve received.  It seems the latest round of calls are targeting businesses and members who use English as a second language.

These scammers are more than happy to supply a phone number to the members.  When the 1-800 number is called, there’s an automated recording identifying the number you have reached is GVEA.

These calls all seem to threaten disconnect of power if payment is not made.

Another potential scam may arrive in your email, posing as a link to your utility bill.  By clicking on the link, you will download malware to your computer.  DON’T click on the link.

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.
  • Most members who have had contact with scammers do not have a past due account.
  • Scammers sometimes imply they have a member’s account number and know the 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.  The phone numbers provided will go directly to the scammers.
  • Hover over an email reply address – without clicking – to ensure the actual address has your utility’s domain name (i.e. _______@gvea.com).

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:

  • Should your account be subject to a possible disconnection, GVEA will notify you via the U.S. Postal Service.
  • If GVEA takes steps to follow up on the mailed notice, it would be an automated system, which asks that you contact our office during normal business hours.
  • Furthermore, members should only use methods authorized by GVEA to pay their electric bills, including stopping by one of our offices (Fairbanks, Delta Junction or Nenana), utilizing our after-hours drop box, or via our GV E-Bill system (note: if new to this system, an account may need to be created).
  • GVEA will never arbitrarily call and ask for personal information.  However, you may be asked to provide the last four digits (not complete numbers) of your Social Security number as a means to verify your identity.

If you have any questions regarding the validity of a caller or email, please promptly contact GVEA directly.

Another article of interest:  “Utilities Unite Against Scammers” distributed by NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association), dated 11/1/2016.

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