Manager’s Message – August 2022
Know the Signs of a Scam
Dear Co-op Community Members:
It’s no secret that consumers with a water, gas or electricity connection have long been targets for utility scams, but fraudsters have changed their tactics since the COVID-19 pandemic. As consumers became more reliant on technology for work, school and commerce, scammers adapted their tactics to this changing environment.
Impostor scams are the No. 1 type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission. While scam artists may come to your door posing as utility workers, in today’s more connected world, attempts are more likely to come via email, phone or text.
Common Types of Scams
A scammer may claim you are overdue on your electric bill and threaten to disconnect your service if you don’t pay immediately. Whether this is done in-person, by phone, text or email, the scammers want to scare you into immediate payment, so you don’t have time think clearly.
If this happens over the phone, hang up. If you’re concerned about your bill, call us at (541) 484-1151. Our phone number can also be found on your monthly bill and on our website, lanelectric.com. If the scam is by email or text, delete it before taking any action. You can always contact us or login to SmartHub to check your status. Remember, Lane Electric will never demand immediate payment after just one notice.
Some scammers may falsely claim you have been overcharged on your bill and say they want to give a refund. It sounds easy. All you have to do is click or press a button to initiate the process.
If you proceed, you will be prompted to provide banking or other personal information. Instead of money going into your bank account, scammers can drain your account and use personal information, such as a social security number, for identity theft.
If this “refund” scam happens over the phone, just hang up and block the phone number to prevent future robocalls.
If this scam attempt occurs via email or by text, do not click any links. Instead, delete the message and, if possible, block the sender.
If you do overpay on your energy bill, Lane Electric will automatically apply the credit to your next billing cycle.
When in doubt, contact us.
Defend Yourself Against Scams
Be wary of calls or texts from unknown numbers. Be suspicious of an unknown person claiming to be a utility worker who requests banking or personal information.
Never let anyone you don’t know into your home unless you have a scheduled appointment or reported a problem. Lane Electric employees drive vehicles with our logo and wear branded clothing. When we work on members’ properties or go into a home, our employees identify themselves.
Report any potential scams to us so we can spread the word to prevent others in the community from falling victim.