Scam Warning: Scammers Threaten to Turn Off Your Electricity

In the past few weeks, many utility companies across the U.S. have received calls from consumers reporting scams. 4 Rivers Electric receives the same type of reports from our members regularly.

The scam is always the same story. A consumer receives a phone call from someone saying their payment was declined or never received and demands immediate payment to avoid being disconnected. There are several utility scams, and here are two of the most common:

  • Scam #1 The Prepaid Card Scam:  Scammers insist the consumer needs to pay their bill immediately or be disconnected. They tell them to purchase a prepaid money card and call them back with the verification codes.
  • Scam #2 Phishing: Scammers insist that the consumer pay their bill immediately or be disconnected. They ask them to verify the credit card or bank account information they use to pay their bill.

If you are a member of 4 Rivers Electric and receive a call or a visit from someone telling you they 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 at (620) 364-2116.

If an actual 4 Rivers electric employee contacts you by phone, it is the policy of the cooperative 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 co-op if you have contacted the co-op directly to make a payment. Chances are, anyone contacting members asking for a payment is not employed or authorized by the co-op.

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 4 Rivers Electric does 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 us at (620) 364-2116 or (800) 748-7395. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.