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Scammers still taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation and targeting utility customers

Covington Electric Cooperative is warning its members of potential scammers acting as utility representatives looking to defraud people and gather personal information.

A case was shared by the Alabama Emergency Management Agency on March 18, 2020 about scammers contacting Alabama Power customers over the phone who are acting as a utility employee and threatening to cut off services if the customer does not cooperate with their demands of immediate payment. The scammer tells the customer they are behind in their payments for electric service.

Listed below are RED FLAGS for potential activity that can alert customers to a possible scam. These include:

  • Threatening to disconnect service if payments are not made immediately, usually within an hour
  • Requesting immediate payment, most often using prepaid cards, and asking for the prepaid card number. This gives the scammer instant access to funds that victims often can’t get back.

CEC will never call you to demand immediate payment over the phone and our members always have a variety of ways to pay their electric bill. These payment methods include; online using our secure website, the CEC App, the 24/7 kiosks in Sanford, Samson or Enterprise; drive thru windows in Sanford and Enterprise during normal business hours; and over the phone using our automated phone service.

CEC is making courtesy calls to members who are subject to disconnection of service for a past-due account, but members are given a variety of options to pay their bills and if they have any doubt about the authenticity of the phone call, they are encouraged to hang up and call the co-op directly to resolve their past-due balance.

Regarding the SCAM ALERT: Awareness is the key to protecting yourself in a scam so spread the word about this criminal activity. Remember to call CEC (1-800-239-4121) to report suspicious activity relating to your electric account. People should also contact law enforcement immediately if they believe they have fallen victim to a scam.