Several WIN Energy REMC members are targeted through phone scams each month. Scammers demand immediate payment and threaten to shut off power within 30 minutes if money is not received. Remember, WIN Energy REMC will never call and demand immediate payment without notice.
A scammer may claim you are overdue on your electric bill and threaten to disconnect your service if you don’t pay immediately. Whether this is done in-person, by phone, text, or email, the scammers want to scare you into immediate payment so you don’t have time think clearly.
If this happens over the phone, simply hang up. If you’re concerned about your bill, call us at 800-882-5140. If the scam is by email or text, delete it before taking any action. If you’re unsure, you can always contact us, or use SmartHub to check the status of your account.
Some scammers may falsely claim you have been overcharged on your bill and say they want to give a refund. It sounds easy when all you have to do is click or press a button to initiate the process. If you proceed, you will be prompted to provide banking or other personal information. Instead of money going into your bank account, the scammers can drain your account and use personal information, such as a social security number, for identity theft.
If this “refund” scam happens over the phone, just hang up and block the phone number to prevent future robocalls. If this scam attempt occurs via email, (known as a “phishing” attempt) or by text (“smishing”), do not click any links. Instead, delete it, and if possible, block the sender. If you do overpay on your energy bill, WIN Energy REMC will apply the credit to your next billing cycle. When in doubt, contact us.
Phising is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from a reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. If you receive an email from an unknown sender; an email riddled with spelling errors and typos; or an email threatening action unless a sum of money is paid, do not click any links provided within the email, and do not respond to the email. Simply delete the email, or send it to your spam folder.
Many consumers know to watch out for suspicious emails, but we tend to trust text messages sent to our smartphones. Smishing is when scammer sends a text message with a link or urgent request for information. Always question suspicious texts, especially from someone claiming to represent a utility.
Here are a few reminders on how to take control of the situation when you’ve been targeted by a scammer:
Utility scammers try to create a sense of urgency so that you’ll act fast and hand over personal information, especially over the phone. Take a moment to think about the situation before acting.
Scammers typically request immediate payments through prepaid debit cards or third-party apps. Unusual requests like this should raise red flags. Remember, if the request seems strange and out of the ordinary, you’re likely being targeted by a scammer.
If you’re contacted by someone claiming to represent WIN Energy REMC or another utility but you’re unsure, just hang up the phone and call the utility directly. You can reach us at 800-882-5140 to verify the situation.