Utility Scammers Springing Up

Green leaves, flowers and pollen aren’t the only thing spring is bringing Northeast Georgia – scammers targeting utility customers are springing up as well, according to Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC).

“Scammers were fairly quiet over the winter, but it seems that spring has brought them out of hibernation. We’re receiving reports from customers that they’re being contacted by phone and email by imposters claiming to be their utility company, warning them that their bill is overdue,” says Jackson EMC Director of Customer Service Brent Cochran.

What all the scams have in common is the threat of imminent power disconnection and the demand to pay immediately. The latest scam uses an email entitled “Is Your Jackson Electric Bill Due Tomorrow?” which provides a “Pay Bill” button that is simply a link to mint.com, a bill paying service not connected to Jackson EMC.

“Legitimate utilities do not call customers and threaten immediate disconnection, and they never request immediate payment, by Green Dot card or any other means. Once a utility customer loads a Green Dot card or clicks a Pay Bill button and gives scammers their information, their money is gone and there’s nothing their utility can do about it,” emphasized Cochran.

What legitimate utilities will do:

Send you written notice of a date by which a payment must be made on your account or power will be disconnected; and
Allow you to make that payment either in person at the utility’s office or on the utility’s website.

“Please don’t give these thieves your hard-earned money. If you have any doubt whatsoever about who is contacting you, stop, pick up the phone book and call your utility’s office first,” cautions Cochran.