Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

June 23, 2013

Utility scams in this area

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative would like to alert its members of several new utility scams that have been reported targeting members in cooperatives around the country.

Posing as electric utility workers, scam artists are phoning consumers warning that their electricity is about to be shut off unless they buy a Green Dot prepaid debit card and load it with money. Victims are told to dial a toll-free number and give the serial number on the card to the caller.

Green Dot “money pak” cards are available at convenience stores, gas stations and pharmacies. Consumers add money to the cards with cash and then use them to pay bills and add money to online accounts. Because only cash is used, the cards are hard to trace.

Scammers are also reportedly contacting consumers by telephone claiming their automatic bank draft has expired and asking them to verify or update their banking information, which presumably could enable a thief to raid their bank accounts.

Of course, there is the age old scam of demanding immediate payment via credit card or services will be shut off immediately.

Scam artists may also try to seek entrance into your home to perform “Free” fake home energy audits. They may not require payment for these services, but could be canvasing your home for future burglary.

CVEC will never call and demand payments of this type or seek entrance into your home. If you receive phone calls of this nature, please remember these important tips on how to avoid being scammed.

*If you are called by a utility company, tell the caller you will call them back at the number listed on your bill.

* Don’t give out personal or financial information if someone calls demanding immediate payment.

* Trust your instincts if something doesn’t seem right.