WALTERS, OK (KSWO)- Cotton Electric is warning customers about the long-running scam targeting members of utility service providers.
"We also communicate regularly with our members about ways to identify scams and whether we have any reports of calls in our area," CEO Jennifer Meason said.
If you receive an unsolicited phone call from an individual who claims to be a Cotton Electric representative saying that the provider will disconnect electric service if the member fails to make a payment, take precautions.
"Cotton Electric never calls members and demands payment… We have payment procedures in place that protect our members and our employees from situations like this."
Scammers use caller ID spoofing to replicate local service numbers and have duplicated the company's upfront Interactive Voice Response system. If you call back scammer phone numbers, it sounds like a legitimate phone number.
Here are some red flags to look out for:
- Caller becomes angry and tells the member his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made – usually within less than an hour.
- Caller instructs the member to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card or asks the member for a prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number.
Here are some ways to protect yourself:
- Cotton Electric never asks or requires a member with a delinquent account to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
- Members with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification with the regular monthly billing – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police then Cotton Electric. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.