UCEMC Members Continue to be Targeted by Utility Scams

Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (UCEMC) cautions members to be on alert for scams that continue to plague UCEMC’s service areas.
Scam artists are calling or visiting homes and businesses posing as utility workers. Callers may threaten to shut off service unless the consumer provides immediate payment using a credit card or money order. The caller may also request that members call a 1-888 number to provide their credit card information. “Calls sound official, and the caller ID may even display the utility name,” says Jimmy Gregory, General Manager of UCEMC. Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to indicate to the receiver of a call that the originator of the call is a station other than the true originating station. For example, a Caller ID display might display a phone number different from that of the telephone from which the call was placed. The term is commonly used to describe situations in which the motivation is considered malicious by the speaker or writer. “This scam is particularly harmful to consumers because there is no way to track or recover the money.”
Officials stress that UCEMC will:
• NEVER call members to request credit card, banking or other financial information over the telephone.
• Although all forms of payments are accepted, UCEMC will NEVER call members demanding a specific payment method be used.
• NEVER call members requesting payment when UCEMC offices are closed.
• NEVER ask to enter your home unless you initiate the request for co-op personnel to perform a specific service. Co-ops do this only by appointment and with a member’s prior knowledge.
“We are asking co-op members to be wary of any phone calls,” Gregory says. “If in doubt, hang up immediately, and contact your local UCEMC District Office at: Carthage 615-735-2940; Cookeville 931-528-5449; Gainesboro 931-268-2123; Livingston 931-823-1213 or the Corporate Office 615-735-3208 or 800-261-2940. Whether by phone or in person, be certain you are dealing with an official representative of the Cooperative. UCEMC personnel carry company identification and vehicles are plainly marked with the UCEMC official logo.”
UCEMC is a Cooperative owned by its members. It distributes electric power through more than 4,500 miles of lines to more than 48,000 meters located primarily in Jackson, Overton, Putnam, Smith Counties and northern DeKalb County, with additional members served in the fringe areas of Clay, Fentress, Macon, Pickett, White and Wilson. Visit www.ucemc.com to learn more.

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