Stay alert with scams
Scam artists have a new trick to get you to pick up the phone. When trying to prey on their next victim, scammers will often utilize a number that appears to be local by using the same area code and prefix.
The tactic, referred to as caller ID spoofing, is a way to make someone more likely to answer the call and feel comfortable with the caller. However, in some instances, it could be a scammer on the other end.
For Cuivre River Electric Cooperative members, the caller may be someone attempting to defraud you.
“Caller ID spoofing is a growing problem in Missouri and throughout the United States. In its basic essence, it is the practice of causing a telephone’s caller ID to display a legitimate business number to get an unsuspecting victim to believe it is coming from a bona fide business or person,” said Lieutenant Andy Binder of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
“Law enforcement is learning while the caller’s information may appear local, the calls are often placed by scam artists who are located outside the state or country. In these cases, there is very little law enforcement can do to help the victim and it frustrates the general public.”
Cuivre River Electric wants its members to be on the alert. During a scam attempt, the callers are threatening disconnection of utility service unless a payment is made immediately.In a recent call reported by a member, the scam artist “represented” another utility provider and said Cuivre River Electric had been sold. In another, “Cuivre River El” showed up in the caller ID, but the number had been spoofed.
Cuivre River Electric members who are facing disconnection will receive an automated phone message around the due date to alert them about the need to pay. However, a demand for payment is never made.
Another way to identify if the caller is a scammer is if they request payment to be made by a prepaid debit or credit card or from a PayPal account.
“When in doubt, hang up and call our office,” said Tammy Nolan, supervisor of consumer accounts.
Any member subject to a scam should call Cuivre River Electric at 1-800-392-3709 and their local police department. Members can also follow Cuivre River Electric on social media to receive the latest updates on scams.
The following agencies have the authority to enforce laws to regulate caller ID spoofing, autodialed calls, and interstate fraud perpetrated over the phone: