Local police agencies have been alerted of a recent scam involving the electric companies in our community. The Russellville Police Department is notifying its citizens to beware of such scams that are occurring over the telephone, and causing concern among many who are afraid their electrical services will be disrupted.
On Oct. 16 the Russellville Police Department received a report of a scam which prompted the agency to investigate. It was found that a male had called a local business stating he was with Pennyrile Electric. The caller requested credit card information for a payment and threatened to shut off the business’s power if they did not comply. The police warns the public of scams of this nature can and do occur, and you must be diligent to check it out.
The Russellville Electric Plant Board has also been notified by customers that they have been called by scammers as well. The caller is impersonating a Russellville Electric Plant Board employee, and telling them that the record indicates they have not paid their bill. The caller then says that if the balance or bill amount is not paid immediately, their electricity will be disconnected.
The EPB says if you receive a phone call from a person representing himself or herself as a EPBsmartnet representative, and you suspect it is a scam, hang up. Do not give the caller any personal information. Be especially protective of your social security number, bank and credit card numbers, and driver’s license number.
Legitimate companies will not call or e-mail you asking for your account number or password, so keep your account information to yourself. You should also not assume that you can trust caller ID to let you know where a caller is located. Because scammers may use Internet calling technology, the area code you see may not reflect where they really are. Write down the person’s name, then hang up and call the EPB at 270-726-2466 to verify the call, or the local Pennyrile office at 270-726-2479.
While there are many legitimate companies that use the telephone for marketing, consumers need to beware and be smart when on the other end of a call. It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a reputable person and criminals who use the phone to rob people. You can protect yourself by learning how to recognize the danger signs of fraud. If you are a victim or attempted victim of fraud, it’s important to report the scam quickly so that law enforcement agencies can shut the fraudulent operation down.
Some danger signs of fraud may be hard to recognize, however, some you can see right away. If any caller tries to pressure you to act immediately or else, or if they attempt to get you to give any personal information over the telephone such as your social security or bank numbers, address or name, age, this is your sign. They do not always threaten, however. Sometimes they try the courteous and friendly approach, to gain your trust.
If you feel the call is bogus, it usually is. Hang up immediately and call your local law enforcement agency. It is better to be safe than sorry.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.