Scams are real: Be on the lookout

From the Board of Trustees

Few things make us as a company angrier than knowing our members are being victimized by thieves. Unfortunately, recently, it’s something we’re having to deal with on an unprecedented level.

Whether it’s an email hoax, a phone scam or a theft of electricity through meter tampering, people who aren’t willing to make an honest living are finding more and more ways to come after your money, and even worse, your good name. And once a member has fallen victim to a fraud, there’s not much Baldwin EMC can do to improve the situation.

What we can do is make sure our members and our community are armed. We’re not talking about weapons here, but rather, armed with knowledge. Because if our community knows enough to spot a scam as it’s happening, they can stop it in its tracks.

Utility scams often involve an individual or group posing as an employee of your electric cooperative. The scammer may use threatening language in order to frighten you into offering your credit card or bank account information. That’s not at all how Baldwin EMC operates. While the co-op does use phone contacts to communicate with members, you’ll never be forced to make a payment over the phone to avoid having your power disconnected.

If someone calls your home or cell phone demanding you pay your electric bill immediately, gather as much information as you can from that individual, hang-up the phone and contact the local authorities. Scammers often use threats and urgency to pressure you into giving them your bank account number or loading a pre-paid credit or debit card (such as a Green Dot card). If you have any doubts about your utility bill, contact Baldwin EMC either in person, or over the phone at (251) 989-6247.

There are other types of scams consumers should watch out for:

  •  Government agencies like the IRS will never call to inform you that you have unpaid taxes or other liens against you. You will always receive this type of information in the mail. If someone calls claiming to be the IRS, hang-up immediately.
  •  If you receive an email from an unknown sender; an email riddled with spelling errors and typos; or an email threatening action unless a sum of money is paid, do not click any links provided within the email, and do not respond to the email. Simply delete the email, or send it to your spam folder.
  •  If someone calls your home claiming to have discovered a virus on your computer, hang-up. This caller’s intent is to access personal information you may be keeping on your computer.

Baldwin EMC will do its part to watch out for you and protect your information. If you do your part, by arming yourself with knowledge, always listening to your gut, and not taking any chances with your private information – we can keep the upper hand when it comes to scams.

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