A cooperative member reported this week that he received a call on his cell phone from a number appearing to be Blue Ridge Electric. The imposter told the member that his electricity was going to be disconnected unless he made immediate payment by debit or credit card and asked for his information. Similar scams have required payment using a prepaid money card. Fortunately, the member hung up and called the telephone number he knew to be his local Blue Ridge Electric office to check on his account.
Realistic scams such as this are becoming increasingly common. The cooperative warns members to be aware of this type of fraudulent activity and to take steps to protect their identity and money. Blue Ridge Electric provides the following tips to help avoid falling victim to a scam:
- If someone calls you asking for immediate payment on your electric bill, don’t ever give out your personal information! This includes your Blue Ridge Electric account number, your banking information, social security number or any other personal information.
- Immediately call Blue Ridge Electric at a number you know to belong to the cooperative. Don’t trust a telephone number a caller gives you. Instead, keep these cooperative numbers handy: Caldwell: 828-754-9071; Watauga: 828-264-8894; Ashe: 336-846-7138; Alleghany: 336-372-4646 or toll free: 800-451-5474.
- Call Blue Ridge Electric any time of the day or night to report suspicious phone calls and to check on your account status or make a payment.
- Always report fraudulent calls to your local law enforcement authority as well as to Blue Ridge Electric.