Public Cautioned About Telephone Scam
Marlboro Electric Cooperative warns members and the community of a telephone scam targeting cooperative members and utilities.
A South Carolina electric cooperative has reported its members have received phone calls from an individual claiming to represent the cooperative. The member is told their bill is past due and asked to provide their credit card number for payment.
“Marlboro Electric has not received any reports at this time from members telling us they have received such a phone call,” said Michelle Odom, MEC’s Customer Service Supervisor. “However, we want our members to be aware that this is happening in other parts of the state, so they don’t become a victim of the scam.”
The member is asked to call the cooperative themselves to arrange payment. Marlboro Electric employees’ do not call members asking for their credit card information.
In addition to the phone scam, there’s a new scam buzzing the nation by claiming that President Obama will pay your utility bills through a new federal program. Customers of electric companies have reported the scam and warnings have been issued.
How the Scam Works: Consumers have been contacted in person and through fliers, social media and text messages with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.
To receive the money, scammers claim they need the consumers’ social security and bank routing numbers. In return, customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay their utility bills. In reality, there is no money, and customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not.
If you receive a call, flier, social media, or text and you’re asked to provide your social security number or credit card information for a past due bill, contact the local law enforcement and utility provider. Marlboro Electric members should call (843)479-3855 to report the scam.
Tips to Avoid Falling for Scams:
•Never provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking.
•If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
•Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.
•Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics over the phone for information or in person to get into your home.
For more information about scams in your area, check out the Better Business Bureau website.