Scams are an irritation in every sector of our lives, but utility bill phone scams are an exceptional nuisance. The nature of the utility industry makes it especially vulnerable. If a bad actor can get their hands on your phone number and home address, then it is a simple matter to figure out what utility company you likely receive service from and therefore who to call you posing as.
Craighead Electric Cooperative members have recently been targeted in a string of phone scams. Usually, the scammer poses as a utility employee and threatens to disconnect service if payment is not made immediately. Diligent members can avoid falling into their trap if they know what signs to look for.
Red flags include:
- Callers demanding immediate payment by credit or pre-paid card. Pre-paid cards are hard to trace, and the numbers on them can be read over the phone making them the preferred currency for scammers. CECC will only ask for you to pay via one of our official payment channels.
- Specific callback numbers that are not the utilities’ regular number. They want you to call them back directly and not your utility company. CECC’s official 1-800 number is 1-800-794-
- The inability to provide specific account information. Often these scammers come armed with information about the person that they are calling in an attempt to sound authentic but will only know publicly available information like name and address. If they cannot provide specific account information an authentic utility representative should already know, (like past-due amount and account number) it is likely a scammer.
If you suspect the person on the line is not from Craighead Electric, hang up and dial the member service number at 1-800-794-5012 and report scam calls to your local authorities.
Remember these tips to protect yourself from scammers:
- Phone scammers are targeting utility customers
- Utilities will never ask you to buy a prepaid debit card
- Utilities will never demand payment with a credit card by phone
- Utility employees will never ask you to pay immediately.
- Don’t fall for scammers pretending to be utilities
- Urgent call from a utility? It could be a scam.