After a high volume of members reported scam calls on Jan. 22, PEC took action to shut down the scammers and protect additional members from fraud.
That afternoon, PEC member relations agents received nearly 50 scam reports. According to members, scammers requested payments be made to a non-PEC toll-free number.
PEC immediately posted a scam alert to pec.coop and SmartHub to notify members. As reports came in, member relations system analysts spotted a trend – scammers were prompting members to use the same toll-free call back number to make payments. PEC reported the number to the group that manages the national database registry who was able to shut down the number.
PEC keeps a record of every scam report and shares this information with Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) for its analysis to help combat scammers. UUAS collaborates with more than 100 utility companies (domestic and international) to share scam data and collectively inform and protect customers.
Unfortunately, three members fell victim to this particular scam. As a reminder, use these guidelines to protect yourself.
What PEC does
- We use an automated system to make recorded courtesy calls to members regarding their accounts. These calls direct recipients to our secure payment line.
- We submit aged delinquent balances on closed accounts to MPB Credit Bureau, which contacts our members by phone to collect payment.
- Our employees work in the field to collect payments at residential and commercial locations, but they will never accept cash. All PEC employees carry photo identification badges, travel in company vehicles, and wear PEC uniform shirts.
What We Never Do
- Call to threaten a service disconnection if payment is not made immediately.
- Ask you to pay with a prepaid card.
- Call from an out-of-state number.
- Instruct you not to call any other PEC number to make payment.
- Have a technician call you to say they are coming out to disconnect power.
- Request a cash payment at your home or business.
- Threaten a service disconnection on holidays or weekends.
- Try to sell you products or services by phone or door-to-door, including solar panels, energy audits, “important energy-saving initiatives,” or more.
What You Can Do
- If you are contacted by someone claiming to be a PEC employee, verify it by contacting us toll-free at 888-554-4732, the phone number printed on your bill. Spanish-speaking representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- If you receive a suspicious call, please attempt to take note of as much as you can about the scam attempt, then hang up, and contact your local law enforcement agency or the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to file a report. We also encourage members to then contact us with any information about the scam so that we can attempt to have the scammer’s phone number disconnected.
- If you are approached by someone claiming to work for PEC, ask to see identification or call our toll-free number to verify their identity.
- Verify calls from MPB by calling the collection bureau directly at 800-550-7902.
If you are contacted by someone claiming to be a PEC employee, verify the call by contacting us toll-free at 888-554-4732.