Protect Yourself Against Scams
Victory Electric is always sending out warnings about utility scams, and now the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau has issued an alert warning consumers of a scam in which consumers are being called and told they owe money to their utility companies and that they must pay by prepaid debit cards, credit cards, or gift cards.
The scam is always the same story. A member receives a phone call from someone, usually posing as a representative of Victory (or another utility), saying their payment had been denied, or never received, and demands immediate payment or they would shut off their power. They are even known for spoofing our telephone number so the caller ID makes it appear to be a call from Victory Electric.
There are three main utility scams:
- Scam #1 – The Green Dot Card Scam: Scammers insist they need to pay their bill immediately or they will be disconnected. They tell them to purchase green dot money cards and call them with the verification codes.
- Scam #2 Phishing– Scammers insist they need to pay their bill immediately or they will be disconnected. They ask them to verify the credit card or bank account they used to pay their bill.
- Scam #3 – Door-to-Door Collections: a person comes to your come demanding payment or they will pull your meter.
If you receive a call or a visit from someone telling you Victory Electric will disconnect your power unless you provide a debit or credit card or a personal financial account number, close the door or hang up and contact us.
If a Victory Electric employee contacts you by phone, it is the policy of Victory Electric to NEVER request confidential, personal financial information – like a credit card number or checking/savings routing and account numbers. Only give your confidential financial information to the cooperative if you have contacted us directly to make a payment. Chances are, anyone contacting members asking for a payment is not employed or authorized by Victory Electric.
We want Victory Electric members to know about possible scams. We encourage you to play it safe and always contact Victory Electric directly. Never give anyone who contacts you your credit card or bank account information.”Prepaid debit cards are a popular method of payment for scammers. Wire transfer services have tightened their security, so crooks have turned to these prepaid cards instead. The cards are difficult to trace, you do not need photo identification to collect or spend the money and transactions cannot be reversed.
Tips for Spotting a Scam:
Because Victory Electric does sometimes contact members by phone, it can be difficult to tell a scammer from a member representative. Here are some tips:
- If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card, this is a red flag.
- If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.
- Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask employees for proper identification.
These types of scam continue to make their way around the country on a regular basis. All utility industries have been on alert for this scam previously and as long as the scammers continue to make money, it will unfortunately continue to be an issue for all industries.
If you receive a suspicious call, capture as much information about the caller as possible. After calling Victory Electric directly to confirm we did not contact you, notify your local authorities. However, if the person is at your home, please be safe and contact the local authorities for assistance.