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DREMC: Beware of utility scam

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm

According to representatives at Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, a scam that has been sweeping across the United States since this summer has made its way to at least one Duck River Electric Membership Corporation Member.
The scam originates with a criminal informing a consumer that President Obama has authorized the Federal Government to create a program that will pay a person’s electric bill.

Then the criminal states that the consumer must provide personal information such as their social security number or bank information to process the payment. Reports on the method of luring a consumer to offer personal information in exchange for assistance in paying their electric bill have ranged from telephone, to social media, to e-mail.

DREMC urges its members to take precautions in protecting their personal information. It is recommended that anyone receiving a request for personal information related to their electric service, such as account number, social security number, or bank information, should hang-up the phone and call their local DREMC office directly.
The Lynchburg office can be reached at 759-7371.

Consumers at other electric utilities who have been subjected to this scam believed their bill had been paid and instead experienced disconnection of service because of nonpayment.

DREMC officials offered the following tips to help avoid falling victim to a scam:

  • Members should initiate a phone call to DREMC by using a published phone number from a reliable source when sensitive information is being shared.
  • Members should only use methods of payment authorized by DREMC to pay their electric bill.
  • DREMC employees request entry into a home only in response to a request for service. If a request for service has not been scheduled, do not allow the person to enter your home.
  • When an employee does come in response to a service call, check identification and make sure the service vehicle is clearly marked with the DREMC logo, say DREMC officials.

As of press time, the Moore County Sheriff’s office had not received any complaints with details matching those of the utility scam but local deputies are aware of it, according to Chief Investigator Mike Rainey.

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