In today’s world, scams are inevitable. Scammers can threaten you with everything from legal action involving the IRS to turning off power to your home. Unfortunately, we have seen a cycle of phone scams trying to take advantage of our members during the fear and confusion brought on by the pandemic.
Utility scammers typically target our members through calls and emails. Scammers pose as the utility and threaten legal action or shutting off power hoping our members will panic and give into their demands. Here are three good ways to avoid getting taken advantage of by these unscrupulous individuals:
1. Make secure payments personally, by calling the cooperative directly or online using our app or website. WFEC will never show up at your door to demand payment. Never be fooled by a phony caller ID. Hang up if you receive a call demanding immediate payment of a utility bill to avoid disconnection of shut off. Never return a call to the call-back phone number provided by an unknown caller. 7494001
2. Never give personal or payment information to an unknown caller or visitor. WFEC has the details needed to service your account. If someone comes to your home claiming to be an employee of WFEC that needs to collect money or inspect parts of your property, call us to verify they are, in fact, an employee. If they are not, call local authorities for assistance and do not let the individual into your home.
3. Beware of demands for immediate payment by wire transfer, gift cards or other unusual methods. Scammers often use threats and urgency to pressure you into giving them your bank account number or loading a pre-paid credit or debit card (such as a Green Dot card).
Each year, about three million consumers report scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Don’t fall victim to these types of scams. Understand the threats posed and your best course of action.
If you think you are being contacted by a utility scammer, tell us so that we can warn others. Protect yourself and help keep your community safe. If you are contacted by a scammer, gather as much information as you can from that individual, hang-up the phone and contact the local authorities
or the co-op.
West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC) will never ask you to offer up personal finance information over the phone. If you ever have any doubts about your utility bill or someone claiming to work for the
cooperative, contact at 800-342-7400.