Scammers using scare tactics to rip off electric customers
(Jefferson, Ga., November 14, 2013) – Jackson EMC is reporting an increase in scam attempts, some successful, around its 10-county service area. In this scam, a caller impersonating a Jackson EMC representative threatens to immediately disconnect customers’ power if they do not ante up pre-paid cards or provide credit card numbers for payment.
“Regrettably, we have had customers who have lost significant sums of money when they comply with these scammers’ requests, including one member who turned over $3,500 in prepaid cards to keep their power on. Once those cards are turned over to the scammers, there’s nothing we can do to help our customers recover those funds, except recommend they file a police report,” says Jackson EMC Director of Customer Service Brent Cochran.
Cochran noted that
- scammers sometimes had the customer’s Jackson EMC account number and amount of their last bill;
- scammers sometimes told customers who question the past due amount that they could pay $25 to delay the disconnection process
- when questioned, scammers sometimes provided a phone number that the customer could allegedly call to confirm the situation
- scammers demanded prepaid cards such as Green Dot MoneyPak cards, or credit card numbers.
“Of course, the phone numbers they provide just go to the scammers. Incredibly, most of the customers who have reported this scam to us do not have past due accounts, Cochran says. “We strongly caution all customers not to provide scammers with prepaid cards, credit card numbers or any other information. If you receive one of these calls, hang up and call the phone number for Jackson EMC that’s listed in your phone directory; that way, you’ll be sure of who you’re talking to.”
He offers these cautions for customers that Jackson EMC:
- will not threaten immediate disconnection if you do not pay the caller.
- will notify you by US Post of past due amounts and potential disconnection, and will ask you to use traditional payment methods to make payment, including coming to the office or going to the company’s website.
- will not ask for credit card information over the phone and will not request that you obtain pre-paid cards to pay your bill.
- may ask you to verify the last four digits of your Social Security number to identify yourself but will not ask for complete Social Security numbers.
If you have any questions regarding the validity of a caller, please contact Jackson EMC at 1-800-462-3691.