2012-07-19 / Community

Cloverland warns of utility bill scam

SAULT STE. MARIE – Cloverland Electric Cooperative is warning its members to be aware of a utility bill scam affecting thousands of consumers across the country. The latest bill payment scam claims that money is available to help consumers pay their utility bills through a new federal assistance program from the Obama administration.

The Better Business Bureau has issued a nationwide warning. According to the BBB alert, the scammer encourages consumers to divulge social security numbers and bank routing numbers. In exchange, consumers receive a fraudulent bank routing number and checking account number to use when paying utility bills.

With the latest scam, identity theft scammers are using a variety of methods to reach consumers.

“It used to be just a phone call, but not anymore,” said co-op spokesperson, Wendy Malaska. In some parts of the country, scammers are targeting consumers door-to-door, circulating fliers, and even sending text messages, too.

Cloverland Electric is not aware of any members who have been victimized by the summertime scam, but urges members to stay alert.

If you receive a call and are unsure of the caller’s identity and are asked for this type information, hang up, call the Cloverland office at (800) 562-4953 and notify a Cloverland member services representative. “You are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your personal information. You need to always remain in control and stay safe,” Malaska said.

Cloverland employees carry company-issued identification cards, wear Cloverland branded shirts, and drive Cloverland vehicles.

“If there is ever a doubt, call the co-op,” Malaska added.

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