UPDATE: FEB. 7, 2019
NGEMC has received a new report of a scam in which the caller offers the member a 25% discount on their bill if they will pay $100 immediately. NGEMC does not contact members to solicit payment. Remember that any call, email, or other message pushing you to act immediately is likely to be a scam. Never hesitate to hang up on a caller and contact NGEMC at one of our published phone numbers. www.ngemc.com/contactus
Several utility phone scams are operating within the region, including an ongoing phone scam targeting NGEMC members. Read below for a description of new scams and tips on what to do in the event you are contacted by a scammer. Remember: If you have any doubts about the validity of a call, please DO NOT HESITATE TO HANG UP and call NGEMC via one of our published phone numbers [contact us link].
NGEMC PHONE SCAM
Reports are coming in of a caller claiming to be a field technician scheduled to disconnect power on site within a certain time frame. The caller left a name, 1-800 phone number, employee number, and a disconnect/work order reference number.
The phone number supplied by the caller (aka Scammer) played a recording which said, “Thank you for calling North Georgia EMC. Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance. If you know your party’s extension, you may enter it at any time. For customer service, please dial 0.”
Please note this same scam has also been used to target Dalton Utilities customers in the last week.
TVA PHONE SCAM
A similar scenario to the one listed above is circulating throughout the TVA service territory. In this case, the scammer recorded TVA’s automated directory assistance greeting, asked for an account number, and provided a bill balance with an option to pay using PayPal.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
- NEVER supply a credit card number, account numbers, or other personal information to an unsolicited caller.
- The more threatening the caller the more likely it is that the call is a scam, especially those who threaten you with “immediate disconnection.”
- NGEMC Utility workers and contractors DO NOT visit properties to disconnect power. Disconnects and reconnects occur remotely.
- DO NOT CALL BACK a number supplied by an unsolicited caller. Always use only published phone numbers for any utility company.
- Anyone can record an audio greeting and use it for their own purposes.
- NGEMC does not call customers asking for payment.
- NGEMC does not accept Paypal and will not ask you to load money onto any kind of prepaid gift card (i.e. Greendot)
- NGEMC does not have a 1-800 number.
The best protection against phone scammers is to verify everything and not jump into action. If you receive a phone call and the caller is asking you to give him/her information or take immediate action of some sort, the best course of action is to hang up. Then call the utility using a published telephone number and notify them of what occurred so they can help warn others.
At the end of the day, the threat of losing money or your personal information to scammers is always more serious and has longer lasting impacts than the inconvenience of having your power temporarily disconnected. Do not be pushed into acting hastily by a caller trying to play on your fears.