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Don’t Be Burned By Utility Phone Scams

Don’t Be Burned By Utility Phone Scams

As summer temperatures begin to soar, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative warns members about scammers posing as electricity providers.

“The scammers are calling Cooperative members and claiming to be Sam Houston Electric Cooperative employees,” Keith Stapleton, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative chief communications officer, said. “These scams don’t seem to be going away.”

From asking members to make payments using prepaid debit cards, to claiming President Obama would help pay energy bills under a special federal program, Sam Houston EC urges members to be on alert.

Many reports have been made that the caller told the member their account was delinquent and they needed to pay immediately or their electricity would be turned off—some were told they had only an hour while others were told they had until 5 p.m. to pay their balance.

“We’ve had reports of phone scams since 2012,” Stapleton said. “The past couple of summers, we’ve seen them [scammers] take advantage of the rising temperatures and summer electric bills. No one wants to risk having their power turned off in the heat of summer, especially because of a scammer.”

Take measures to safeguard your personal information such as Social Security number and bank account information. Be suspicious of any caller who instructs you to get a prepaid debit card and then call them back with the number.

Sam Houston EC asks that any member who receives a suspicious call ask the name of the caller and a phone number to call back on—then hang up and immediately report it to the Cooperative by calling 1-800-458-0381. Asking the caller for any information, like a name and phone number, may help authorities locate the source of this scam.