York Electric Cooperative is alerting members to be aware of scams during this difficult time. Credit card numbers and personal information should never be given to suspicious callers. If you receive a suspicious call, mailing, email or other type of unusual contact, you should contact local law enforcement. Members should call YEC atif they have questions about their accounts. Member services representatives can help confirm payment and balance due on a member’s account.
False threats, accusations, and bullying are just a few of the tactics used to put consumers in a vulnerable position, one in which you are more likely to give out information under duress. Threats include everything from legal action involving the IRS to demands for your Social Security number to disconnecting utilities such as electrical power to your home.
These dirty tricks are used to steal your hard-earned money, your personal information and, in many cases, your identity. Here are some examples of utility scams that have been reported and what you can do about them:
The “service disconnection” scam
You receive an “urgent” phone call from someone claiming to be a York Electric Cooperative employee. The caller forcefully tells you that electric service to your home or business will be disconnected unless immediate payment is made. The thief then tells the consumer they must purchase a pre-paid debit card (available at most convenience stores and even pharmacies) and then call a toll-free number to give a representative the account numbers listed on the card. Using this information, the scammer has effectively stolen the money used to purchase the card. York Electric employees will never call you to ask for credit or debit card information.
The “government wants to help pay your electric bill” scam
In this scenario, you’re told about a too-good-to-be-true “new government program” that will pay some or all of your monthly power bill. The scammer says you can qualify for the program by simply providing a bank routing or social security number. Guess what? If it seems to good to be true, it is. This is especially true in a time when some forms of federal aid are indeed coming for consumers. A few things to keep in mind:
- We will never call and ask for personal information.
- Never give an unknown caller your bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or your Social Security number.
- Do not reply to phone/voicemail messages asking for personal or private information.
- If you get a disconcerting message about your electric bill, call York Electric and speak directly to a member services representative, and do not return the scammer’s call.
- When in doubt, hang up and call local law enforcement.
Many scam artists are aggressive in their tactics. If you receive a phone call from someone pushing you to divulge personal information, hang up. Then be sure to contact your local authorities with as much information about the call as you are able to provide.