Central Alabama Electric Cooperative warns of scam

Published 5:21 pm Monday, July 16, 2012

Central Alabama Electric Cooperative is warning members to be on the alert for a scam that has made its way across the United States and now into its service area.

The scam, which has been reportedly taking place through social media, text message, fliers, door-to-door and telephone, claims that President Barack Obama is providing funding to help customers pay their utility bills.

As part of the scam, customers are being asked to provide their Social Security numbers or information associated with their Social Security number and other personal identification information in exchange for fake bank routing numbers that can be used to make payments. The con alleges that a payment will be made from a Federal Reserve bank account directly to their electric account.

But the truth is there is no money, and customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not.

“We want to make our members aware of this swindle so they can protect themselves from becoming victims of identity theft and other fraudulent activities,” said Chuck Billings, vice president of customer service.

CAEC officials caution customers who pay online not to disclose their online account number and user password to scammers because, while it will allow access to their personal information (i.e. home address, phone number, etc.), the swindlers won’t be able to access their financial information; it will remain secure.

“We take extreme precautions to secure our members’ account information; we don’t want anything to compromise this data,” said Scott Lee, manager of information systems.

CAEC urges members not to give their personal information to strangers and not to use the bogus payment method the scammers are promoting.

If members believe they are a victim of this scam, they should call CAEC immediately at 1-800-545-5735 and speak with a customer service representative.