Protecting Members from Utility Scam Artists

A member receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a utility representative. The scammer warns that the utility will disconnect the customer’s electric service if the customer fails to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe.
Scammers are trying every trick in the book to steal your hard earned money. Some of these criminals even use caller ID spoofing to replicate the utilities customer service number.

Red flags for scam activity
• The thief becomes angry and tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made – usually within less than an hour.
• The thief instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment to the utility.
• The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.

How to protect yourself
• Mid-South Synergy never requires a customer with a delinquent account to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
• Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person.
• Customers with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification with the regular monthly billing – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
• If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police then your co-op. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.

Members who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these thieves, should contact local authorities, and then Mid-South Synergy at (936) 825.5100 or Toll Free: (888) 525.6677 .