EMC says beware of phone 'bill' scam

Fri, 08/28/2009 - 3:35pm
By: John Munford

Electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) across Georgia, including Coweta-Fayette EMC, are warning consumers to be wary of imposters who have manufactured another telephone scam in order to obtain personal information.

In this latest scheme, the perpetrators contact EMC consumers, informing victims that the government is paying $350 toward the electric bills of senior citizens. The caller claims that in order to process the check, he or she needs social security numbers and EMC account numbers.

If the scam artist obtains this information – including credit card numbers – he or she will call the EMC member a few minutes later to "verify" the information. This attempt to defray suspicion also gives criminals more time to use the data to make fraudulent purchases.

Sadly, this is not the first time utilities and consumers have been preyed upon by phone scammers. Earlier this year, a similar ploy involved falsely informing customers that an electric bill was past due. The caller would then request an urgent credit card payment to avoid loss of service within 24 hours.

“We encourage everyone to be extremely cautious when giving out any personal information over the phone or via email,” said Coweta-Fayette CEO Anthony “Tony” Sinclair. “Victimizing honest, hard-working citizens in today’s economic climate is the worst sort of crime.”

If a consumer suspects a caller is fraudulent, EMC officials recommend he or she write down the incoming phone number using caller ID. If anyone has been the victim of this scheme, or has any information leading to possible suspects, please contact Coweta-Fayette EMC and your local law enforcement agency.

Coweta-Fayette EMC is a consumer-owned cooperative providing electricity and related services to over 73,000 consumers in Coweta, Fayette, Heard, South Fulton, Clayton, Spalding, Troup and Meriwether Counties.

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