Utilities raise awareness about scams
Article was added on Monday, January 16, 2017
Recently, more than 80 utilities and energy industry organizations
from across the U.S. and Canada, including more than 40 electric
co-ops, joined forces to recognize the first-ever North American
Utilities United Against Scams Day on November 16,
Electric co-ops have increased their communication efforts, sending
information directly to members and encouraging local TV stations
and newspapers to warn citizens about
scams. Scammers are developing new tactics
every day to dupe even the wariest member.
The "past due" scam, goes something like this: A member gets a call
from an 800-number that looks like a valid utility company phone
number. Widely available spoofing software allows crooks to display
what appears to be an official number on caller IDs. The caller
threatens to cut off power if the member doesn't
But here's the giveaway: The crook will demand payment via a
prepaid debit card or money order. And he'll ask for it within a
few hours or less. The scammer may even quote an amount that sounds
like your typical monthly bill.
Scammers might direct the member to a specific store nearby that
sells the prepaid cards and instruct them to put money on the card
and provide the card number to the scammer.
Some scammers have even been bold enough to contact potential
victims in person, at the member's house. Santee Electric will
never send someone to your home to collect money.
Santee Electric may call members from time to time to advise of
impending inclement weather or scheduled maintenance that may cause
power outages. However, late payment notices are sent to individual
members by mail. Santee Electric will never require members to
purchase prepaid debit cards to avoid immediate
Do not assume the name and number on your caller ID are
Never share your date of birth, Social Security number or banking
account information with anyone calling to collect money over the
Never wire money to someone you don't know.
If you receive a call that sounds like it may be a scam, or if you
believe the call is a scam, hang up, call the police and report the
incident to your local utility.
Never search the internet for a place to pay your bill. Only pay
your bill at www.santee.org or on your SmartHub app.
Check your account status anytime at www.santee.org or on your
you can help
You can alert your family members and friends. Share the scammers'
tactics described in this article or those you have heard about.
You can also help raise awareness and warn others by reposting scam
awareness information on social media; use the hashtag
Robert G. Ardis
President and Chief
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