Friday, August 21, 2009

EMCs Warn Consumers: Beware of Scam Artists

/PRNewswire/ -- The electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) in Georgia are warning consumers to be wary of imposters who have manufactured another telephone scam in order to obtain personal information.

In the latest scheme, the thieves contact EMC consumers, informing victims that the government is paying $350 towards the electric bill of senior citizens. The fraudulent caller claims that in order to process the check, he or she needs social security numbers and EMC account numbers.

If the scam artist obtains this information, including credit card numbers, he or she will call the EMC consumer a few minutes later to "verify" the information in an attempt to defray suspicion and give the scammers more time to use the data to make fraudulent purchases.

Sadly, utilities and consumers have already been victims. Earlier this year, thieves contacted customers by phone, informing victims that their electric bill was past due and that an urgent credit card payment was needed to avoid loss of service within 24 hours.

If a customer suspects a caller is fraudulent, EMCs recommend trying to write down the incoming phone number via caller ID. If anyone has been the victim of this scheme, or has any information leading to possible suspects, they are asked to contact their local EMC and law enforcement agency.

Georgia EMC is the statewide trade association representing the state's 42 EMCs, Oglethorpe Power Corp., Georgia Transmission Corp. and Georgia System Operations Corp. Collectively, Georgia's customer-owned EMCs provide electricity and related services to four million people, nearly half of Georgia's population, across 73 percent of the state's land area.

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