WESTERN SAN JUANS – Many utilities, including the San Miguel Power Association and the Delta-Montrose Electric Association, are warning members to be on the alert for scams targeting utility consumers. SMPA and DMEA has recently been notified by one of their members of an attempted scam, and a recent article appeared in the Durango Herald acknowledged attempts of scams in the neighboring La Plata Electric Association service territory.
Scam artists call or visit a property posing as a co-op or utility employee and threaten to shut off service unless the consumer provides immediate payment.
“The call or the individual visiting the property may seem official,” Kevin Ritter, general manager for SMPA, said in a press release this week. “They claim to be with the local utility, and many times the caller ID may even display the name of the utility.”
Over the last few days, including the weekend when DMEA was closed, DMEA members have been receiving phone calls from someone posing as a representative from DMEA who is stating their electricity will be disconnected if they do not pay on their delinquent amount immediately. The representative impostor is calling from an 800 number. The authorities, according to DMEA, have been contacted and are aware of situation.
On one occasion the caller attempted to send a member to Wal-Mart to purchase a prepaid card and asked them to call a fake 800 number providing the prepaid card information to the caller so there is no trail of where the payment goes. They may also simply ask for your credit card information, so do not provide any account information until you verify you are speaking with an actual DMEA representative. DMEA was alerted of the scam by several different members and it appears the primary targets are businesses specifically restaurants.
Most utilities, including SMPA will not call members and threaten immediate disconnection. “Typically, written notices are sent, followed by phone calls from a San Miguel Power Association customer service representative to delinquent accounts prior to disconnection” said Ritter. “We do not disconnect services out of normal business hours.” Your San Miguel Power Association service will not be disconnected on nights, weekends or holidays.
San Miguel Power Association stresses that members who receive any calls or visits regarding immediate payment of a bill should contact San Miguel Power Association directly. Demands may include a prepaid debit/credit card, wiring money or demands of cash.
“Please be cautious of any phone calls or visits,” said Ritter. “If uncertain, locate our contact information on your bill or other reliable form of information. Call us directly to be confident you are dealing with an authorized representative of San Miguel Power Association.”
For DMEA members, if any one receive a call regarding their electric utilities, please verify it is a call from the actual DMEA number of 877/687-3632 or 970/249-4572. Please report any additional information regarding this scam to 877/687-3632 or 970/249-4572.