Don’t Fall for Scams Targeting Electric Customers!
Electric bill scams are in the news almost daily, so Peace River Electric Cooperative wants you to know how to protect yourself.
Often, scammers make phone calls to homes and businesses, pretending to be electric utility employees. They even fake the number displayed on a phone’s caller ID to show the electric utility’s office number—creating a false sense of trust. The scammer typically tells consumers to purchase prepaid debit cards to pay a “bill” to prevent having their power shut off right away. Businesses are targeted during their busiest time, like a restaurant during the lunch rush.
But these scams are not limited to phone calls. Criminals sometimes use emails to dupe unsuspecting consumers. The e-mails look like a typical monthly bill from their electricity provider but may contain links to untrustworthy sites.
According to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC):
- If someone claims to be from your power company and pressures you for immediate payment or personal information, hang up and call your utility’s customer service department
- Never give your Social Security Number, credit card number or banking information to any caller, no matter who they claim to represent
- Delete suspicious e-mails saying you must act immediately to verify or provide personal information
- Delete any e-mails from utilities/companies you don’t have a relationship with
- Do not respond to suspicious e-mails. Responding often results in even more spam and scam attempts
- Don’t give in to high pressure tactics for information over the phone or in person
Tips for PRECO members
- PRECO will never ask for or require a prepaid debit card for bill payments
- PRECO does not use high pressure tactics demanding immediate payment to avoid disconnection
- PRECO will never call a customer seeking personal information or credit card numbers
- In the field, PRECO employees carry picture identification badges
If you think you have been scammed, you should call PRECO at (800) 282-3824 and your local police department immediately.