Central Electric Cooperative has recently received reports from members who were targets of a payment scam. Members were called and asked to make immediate payment on their account to avoid disconnection. Central encourages members to be on alert when receiving calls from people claiming to be with Central.
“One way to tell if a call is from Central is legitimate is to check the caller ID,” said Tara Crawford, Central’s director of member services. “Calls from Central are going to be from the 405 area code, so be cautious of toll free or suspicious area codes.” Crawford also says that if a call is questionable, members should hang up and call the cooperative at 405-372-2884.
The Better Business Bureau provides these tips to avoid falling for a scam:
Be wary of giving personal information over the phone.
Never provide your Social Security Number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking.
Do your research.
If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
Beware of the door-to-door sales approach.
Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you scheduled an appointment or reported a utility problem. Always ask utility employees for proper identification.
If you already have provided information to someone claiming to offer this service, contact your bank immediately. Also contact the three national credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – and request a notation made on your account so that it doesn’t impact your credit rating.
Share this information with friends and family so they do not become victims. The elderly are common victims of this type of scam, but anyone who pays a utility bill is a potential victim.