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Scammers targeting utility customers

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Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC) members have recently reported suspicious phone calls from individuals posing as a representative of TCEC and demanding payment. Using computer technology, the scammers are able to mask their phone number to show a phone number similar or exactly as TCEC's phone number. Madison County Sheriff's Office has been made aware of the scam attempts.

These phone scammers posing as TCEC or other utility providers call and insist members are delinquent on their bill. They may threaten to disconnect service, become aggressive and angry, demanding immediate payment with a pre-paid card or money transfer service.

TCEC employees will never ask for or require pre-paid cards for payments. They will not disconnect delinquent accounts without multiple attempts at prior notice. In addition, TCEC will never demand personal information such as driver's license numbers over the phone.

Scammers are almost impossible to track down and even harder to stop. Together we can stop them from succeeding by spreading awareness of growing phone scams and learning how to spot a scammer.

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) reminds you to protect yourself from bill scams in the following ways:

If a caller claims to be from your utility company and you are pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up and call the customer service number on your utility bill for information.

Never provide your Social Security Number, credit card number or banking information to anyone who calls you, regardless of whom they claim to be representing.

Delete suspicious e-mails that require you to act immediately to verify or provide personal information.

Delete any e-mails from utilities/companies with whom you're not a customer.

Do not respond to suspicious e-mails. Responding often results in even more spam and scam attempts directed at you.

Think safety first, always! Do not give in to high-pressure tactics for information over the phone or in person.

If you think you are being contacted by a phone scammer, hang up and call Tri-County Electric Cooperative at (850) 973-2285 or (800) 999 2285. You are also asked to call the Madison County Sheriff's Office or the Madison Police Department immediately at (850) 973-4001, ext. 1.

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