A few co-ops members notified us that they received a call from someone posing as an electric co-op employee. The caller told them that immediate payment is needed to avoid disconnection of utility services. Typically, they ask for payment immediately or within a few hours. If you receive a call from someone telling you your electric provider will disconnect your power unless you provide a debit or credit card or a personal financial account number, hang up and contact us.
Riverland Energy has a routine for collecting payments from its members. There are multiple contacts from the cooperative prior to being disconnected:
- REC will mail a disconnect notice if bill is past due.
- REC only calls customers who owe a past due balance.
- REC usually uses an automated phone system with a recorded message first.
Because REC does sometimes 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 the customer service number on your bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.
- Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask employees for proper identification.
If you receive a suspicious call, capture as much information about the caller as possible. After calling the utility directly to confirm they did not contact you, notify your local authorities. However, if the person is at your home, please be safe and contact the local authorities for assistance.
If you have any questions, feel free to give our office a call.