CAEC warns customers of scam targeting co-op members - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

CAEC warns customers of scam targeting co-op members

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) -

The phone rings and the caller demands payment and threatens to shut off your power if you don't hand over bank or credit card information. Central Alabama Electric Cooperative and other Alabama co-ops are having it happen to customers and they don't want others to fall prey to con artists.

CAEC issued an alert to its members Wednesday, as well as the general public, to be aware of a phone scam using what it says are energy-related ploys to fraudulently obtain funds or gain bank account and personal information.

"We've had a problem in the state here lately. Several cooperatives have reported folks calling our members. We had one of our members call this morning and they said they got a call from someone demanding they make a payment over the phone, give them their credit card information, their account information so they would not cut their power off," said Tom Stackhouse, CEO/President of CAEC.

Company officials say the scam has become common in the last year and uses the fear of power interruption to lead the victim into giving out information. CAEC serves a 5,000 square mile area between Montgomery and Birmingham- including Autauga, Chilton, Coosa and Elmore Counties and six other counties in the surrounding area. Stackhouse says they serve about half the residents in that area. Alabama Power serves the other half. 

"They're very pushy. They're asking for payments to be made and be careful. This morning they asked for a very small amount of dollars. It was four dollars and some change they were asking for. That is not how we solicit payments or information. We send notices so we know when the disconnect dates are. We do not call folks and immediately ask them to give that kind of information because we do know this kind of thing goes on," Stackhouse said. 

He tells WSFA that customers with Baldwin County's electric co-op and Dixie Electric in Montgomery also reported receiving similar calls. 

CAEC says it will never call and solicit personal information from its members and asks that if anyone receives such a call, that they refuse to make payment and report the call to the co-op by calling 1-800-545-5735.

CAEC members can make walk-in payments at the office on US Highway 31 North in Prattville, they can mail payments in, pay online or by using CAEC's phone apps or they can call the payment in, Stackhouse said. 

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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