We want you to be aware of a growing phone scam that is targeting utility customers. Phone scammers posting as your utility call and insist you are delinquent on your bill. They may also threaten to turn off your power, rig caller ID to make it look like the call is from our cooperative. They may tell you to put money on a prepaid debit card and ask for the card number. We also recently had a member receive a call from an automated system telling her she had an important package from WFEC and to press one to find out more. The caller ID said West Florida EL and used a co-op phone number. Don’t believe any of this.
Scammers may use threatening language in order to frighten you into offering your credit card or bank account information. Don’t fall victim to these types of scams.
Do not pay over the phone if immediate payment is demanded to avoid a disconnection. Here’s what to do if the call seems suspicious:
• If someone calls your home or cell phone demanding you pay your electric bill immediately, gather as much information as you can from that individual, hang-up the phone and contact the local authorities.
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). West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC) will never ask you to offer up personal finance information over the phone. If you have any doubts about your utility bill, contact our member payment center either in person, or over the phone at WFEC.
• 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.
• Government agencies like the IRS will never call to inform you that you have unpaid taxes or other liens against you. You will always receive this type of information in the mail. If someone calls claiming to be the IRS, hang-up immediately.
• If you receive an email from an unknown sender; an email riddled with spelling errors and typos; or an email threatening action unless a sum of money is paid, do not click any links provided within the email, and do not respond to the email. Simply delete the email, or send it to your spam folder.
• If someone calls your home claiming to have discovered a virus on your computer, hang-up. This caller’s intent is to access personal information you may be keeping on your computer.
WFEC wants to make sure you avoid any and all types of scams that could put you or your financial information in jeopardy. When we hear about scams targeting our members, we always try to post a warning on our Facebook page to warn members. We also usually immediately run an article in the next newsletter. If you are ever suspicious of a call you receive from someone claiming to be a WFEC representative, please contact the cooperative at 800-342-7400 to confirm. Please remember - never give out any personal information on a phone call you do not make yourself. Please make sure to report any examples of scams to us using the number above, so that we may continue warning our members about the newest ploy being used by scam artists.