Recently, we have seen an increased volume of reported scam attempts concerning members. When contacted by a person claiming to represent Central Electric Cooperative (CEC), we encourage members to verify the person calling’s identity to protect yourself against scams. If you are still unsure as to who is calling, hang up, and call CEC’s office (800-521-0570) for verification. Additionally, CEC will never call and demand payment via a prepaid card or money order.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, scams are inevitable. Scammers can threaten you with everything from legal action involving the IRS to turning off power to your home.
Utility scams often involve an individual or group posing as an employee of your electric cooperative. The scammer may use threatening language to frighten you into offering your credit card or bank account information. Do not fall victim to these types of scams. Understand the threats posed and your best course of action:
- If someone calls your home or cell phone demanding you pay your electric bill immediately, gather as much information as you can from that individual, hang-up the phone, and contact your utility company. If you have lost money due to the scam, contact the police immediately. Scammers often use threats and urgency to pressure you into giving them your bank account number or loading a pre-paid credit or debit card. CEC will never ask you to offer up personal financial information over the phone. If you have any doubts about your utility bill, contact our member payment center by calling 800-521-0570.
- If someone comes to your home claiming to be an employee of CEC that needs to collect money or inspect parts of your property, call us to verify they are, in fact, an employee. If they are not, call local authorities for assistance, and do not let the individual into your home. Additionally, all CEC employees carry company-issued identification.
Here are some additional tips on how to protect yourself:
- Do not assume the name and number on your caller ID are legitimate. Caller IDs can be spoofed.
- Never share your personal information, including date of birth, Social Security number, or banking account information.
- Never wire money to someone you do not know.
- Do not click links or call numbers in unexpected emails or texts – especially those asking for your account information.
- CEC will NOT require members to purchase prepaid debit cards or money orders to avoid an immediate disconnection.
- If you receive a call that sounds like it may be a scam, or if you believe the call is a scam, hang up, and report the incident to your local utility.
CEC wants to make sure you avoid any and all types of scams that could put you or your financial information in jeopardy. If you have any questions or would like more information about how you can protect yourself from scammers, call us at 800-521-0570, or click here.