Don’t fall victim to utility scams

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Avoid Utility Scams

 

Every day, millions of Americans are targeted by scammers through phone calls, emails, text messages, online or in person. Scammers’ tactics can change daily, which is why it’s important for consumers to stay on top of the latest scam reports from local and national news outlets, as well as your local utility companies.

In the past Blue Ridge Electric Co-op members have been targeted through a phone scam where the scammers demanded immediate payment and threatened to shut off power if the money was not received. Remember Blue Ridge Co-op will never call you and demand immediate payment without notice.

One trending scam is smishing (short for SMS phishing). Many consumers know to watch out for suspicious emails, but we tend to trust text messages sent to our smartphones. Always question suspicious texts, especially from someone claiming to represent a utility. Blue Ridge Co-op will only send you important updates via text if you’ve signed up for mobile alerts. These are just a couple examples of trending scams, so it’s important to watch for any red flags.

Here are a few reminders on how to take control of the situation when you’ve been targeted by a scammer:

Take your time
Utility scammers try to create a sense of urgency so that you’ll act fast and hand over personal information, especially over the phone. Take a moment to think about the situation before acting.

Be suspicious
Scammers typically request immediate payments through prepaid debit cards or third-party apps. Unusual requests like this should raise red flags.

Confirm before you act
If you’re contacted by someone claiming to represent Blue Ridge Electric Co-op or another utility but you’re unsure, just hang up the phone and call the utility directly. You can reach us at 800-240-3400 to verify the situation.

Our increasingly connected world provides scammers with more opportunities to connect with unsuspecting consumers. Be vigilant, and please report any utility scams to us so we can let others in our community know. Together, we can help prevent our friends and neighbors from being victimized.