Jo-Carroll Energy warns of possible scams
Jo-Carroll Energy is warning its members and the general public to be aware of apparent scammers who are calling members and requesting payment.
Business owners in Elizabeth alerted the cooperative to calls on Thursday, July 7. The caller claimed to be from ComEd and threatened to disconnect service if payment was not made over the phone.
Earlier this summer, the cooperative received information from members indicating the possibility of more than one scam circulating. One seemed to target businesses, particularly in Carroll County, while the other was reported by residential members of the cooperative. Multiple businesses in Carroll County alerted the cooperative to a scam telephone call they had received from an 800 number.
“The call they received was from a person claiming to represent Jo-Carroll Energy, that we had switched companies, had not received a payment and that a tech was enroute to disconnect if they did not pay immediately,” said Jennifer Skien, vice president of member services. The caller then instructed the member to purchase prepaid credit cards to make a payment.
In another instance a member received a call with “Jo-Carroll” caller ID that was selling gift cards. The member was told he just needed to provide his credit card number and that his account would only be charged a small amount.
The calls were reported to authorities.
Skien advises that anyone who receives a suspicious call should exercise caution.
“If you receive a suspicious call about your utility bill or account, get the caller’s number and then hang up and call the police and Jo-Carroll Energy,” Skien said. “Never give your account number, credit card number, bank information or other personal information over the phone without verifying the call.”
“Please don’t assume you can trust caller ID as to where a caller is located,” Skien added. “If you are ever contacted by phone about an account and have any concern about the validity of the call, don’t hesitate to tell the caller you prefer to call them back.”
If there’s any question about a phone call from someone claiming to be with the utility, she offers these tips:
- Get the caller’s name.
- Get the phone number off caller ID.
- Call the police and Jo-Carroll Energy.
- Never give your account number, credit card number, bank information or other personal information over the phone without verifying the call.
“By calling the cooperative to report a suspicious call, members can talk to a member service representative who can confirm their bill and let them know if there are any problems with their account,” Skien added.
If a Jo-Carroll Energy account goes unpaid, the cooperative sends a delinquent notice in the mail. A courtesy call may also be made.