In the last few weeks, we have received calls from several SCEC members reporting they had received calls threatening disconnection of their electricity if payment was not made within a short period of time. Luckily, none of those we spoke with “fell” for the scam, but in speaking with them we noted these Red Flags:
- Most recipients received the calls on their cell phones beginning 651-2xx FROM a number displaying a 651 area code. Scammers can make any name or number show up on your caller ID. This is called spoofing. In some cases, we did not even have the member’s cell as contact for their account – this gave the opportunity to update their contact information when they called in.
* Best Practice: DO NOT ANSWER calls from unknown or unrecognized numbers. If it’s important, they should leave a message.
- Calls were “automated,” aka robocalls.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (www.consumer.ftc.gov): “If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it's a robocall.”
By this definition, SCEC DOES “robocall,” you can easily identify the call as coming from St. Croix Electric Cooperative.
- None of the recorded messages – or “representatives” in some cases – mentioned St. Croix Electric Cooperative specifically.
At the beginning of ANY call originating from our office or employees – whether automated or not – you will hear St. Croix Electric mentioned specifically.
* Best Practice: HANG UP if the greeting DOES NOT identify the call as coming from St. Croix Electric Cooperative. If the greeting DOES identify the call as being from St. Croix Electric Cooperative but you suspect it may be a scam/spoof, HANG UP the phone and then call us directly at 715-796-7000 to verify its validity.
- Payment was demanded within 30 minutes (or, in one case, 45). Utility scammers try to create a sense of urgency so that you’ll act fast and hand over personal information, especially over the phone.
* Best Practice: Do NOT press any buttons or answer any prompts. Hang up immediately.
NEVER SHARE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION, including date of birth, Social Security number or banking or credit card account information.
To learn about our payment policy and disruption of power procedures, see What You Should Know about Due Dates, Forfeited Discounts and Service Disruption.