Awareness Is Best Tool To Guard Against Scammers
West Kentucky RECC joins utilities marking 'National Utility Scam Awareness Week' with information and education campaign
Nov. 6, 2018, MAYFIELD, Ky – The crooks trying to take money from West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative members are always looking for new ways to take advantage of good people.
The scammers usually call members and tell them their West Kentucky RECC bill is overdue and will be disconnected shortly unless the member makes an immediate payment with an untraceable prepaid credit card.
Scammers often target the elderly or call small business owners during the busiest times. They also call those homes and businesses where English is a second language and use that language barrier to create fear. The scammers say it will take days to get your service restored once it is disconnected. They use your co-op's name with confidence and often steal and use our phone numbers to make their scam more realistic.
Scammers are good liars. West Kentucky RECC will not ask customers to use unusual payment methods. Never wire money or put money onto a prepaid card of any kind, even if those are the directions of the representative calling.
“These scammers take tens of thousands of dollars a year from cooperative members across the country by sounding sincere while they lie,” said David Smart, WKRECC president and CEO. "We want our members to recognize the signs when a professional criminal is trying to steal from them.”
West Kentucky RECC is a member of Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), which has declared Nov. 11-17 to be National Utility Scam Awareness Week. UUAS is made up of more than 100 electric, gas and water providers all dedicated to educating members on how they can avoid becoming victims.
There are many ways to be victimized by scammers, and some of them have been around for years.
For example, West Kentucky RECC advises customers who pay their bills by mail not to place their payments in a roadside mailbox until close to pick-up time. That’s because crooks sometimes go into mailboxes, lift the payments and alter the checks so that they can cash them.
Never arrange payment or divulge account or personal information, including debit or credit card information, over the phone unless you are certain you are speaking to West Kentucky RECC. If you are unsure, hang up and call 1-877-495-7322 to check. When making online payments to your electric provider, always double-check to ensure that you are on the correct website before submitting credit card information.
If you see someone on your property or someone knocks on your door claiming to be from your electric provider, ask them to wait while you call the company directly to verify their intent.
Tell your family and friends about scammers’ tactics that you’ve heard about and how to avoid them. Sharing information is the best way to ensure that no one is taken advantage of by a scam.
Report a suspicious call or visit immediately to your local authorities and to your local electric provider.