Frequency of Scam Calls Are Up
NOTE: If you have been a victim of a scam, please use the link provided to file an incident report with the police: Link to FPD’s Incident Report
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Utilities around the country continue to report an increase in scam attempts, and Fairbanks is no exception.
Nearly everyday, GVEA receives calls from members providing details of calls they’ve received. Scammers don’t discriminate, and often times they seem to target businesses and members who use English as a second language. Additionally, scammers often call at a time that they expect the business to be very busy (e.g. lunch time if it’s a restaurant).
Scammers are more than happy to supply a phone number to the members. When the 1-800 number is called, there’s an automated recording identifying the number you have reached is “GVEA.”
These calls all seem to have one thing in common: they threaten disconnect of power if payment is not made.
Another potential scam may arrive in your email, posing as a link to your utility bill. By clicking on the link, you will download malware to your computer. DON’T click on the link.
Regrettably, members have lost significant sums of money when they’ve complied with these scammers’ requests. Once those card numbers are turned over to the scammers, utilities can do nothing to assist with the recovery of those funds, except recommend the member file a police report.
Be Aware of These Common Tricks Used by Scammers:
- Scammers sometimes falsely offer members a discount if the balance owed on their account is promptly taken care of.
- Most members who have had contact with scammers do not have a past due account owing.
- Scammers may imply they have a member’s account number and know the amount of their last bill.
- Scammers demand prepaid cards, such as Green Dot MoneyPak cards, or credit card numbers.
- Scammers may provide a phone number, so members can allegedly call to confirm the authenticity of the call. Any phone number provided will go directly to the scammers.
- Hover over an email reply address – without clicking – to ensure the actual address has GVEA’s domain name (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org).
Remember, if you did not initiate the contact – phone or email – DO NOT provide any personal information (credit card and/or Social Security numbers and/or banking information).
Additional Cautions for Our Members:
- Should your account be subject to a possible disconnection, GVEA will notify you via the U.S. Postal Service well in advance of the possible disconnect.
- If GVEA takes steps to follow up on the mailed notice, it would be an automated phone system, which asks that you contact our office during normal business hours.
- Furthermore, members should only use methods authorized by GVEA to pay their electric bills, including stopping by one of our offices (Fairbanks, Delta Junction or Nenana), utilizing our after-hours drop box, or via one of our electronic payment options: A) GVEA’s Mobile App (note: you will need to download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play and search for “Golden Valley Electric”; both your account number and meter number will be needed to create a log-in account) or B) GVEA’s E-Bill system (note: if new to this system, an account may need to be created). Note: GVEA’s Bill Payment Kiosk is now available in the entryway of the Fairbanks lobby; you’ll need to know your account number.
- GVEA will never arbitrarily call and ask for personal information. However, you may be asked to provide the last four digits (not complete numbers) of your Social Security number as a means to verify your identity.
If you have any questions regarding the validity of a call or email, please promptly contact GVEA. Our phone number is 907-452-1151 (or 1-800-770-4832 toll-free).
Other Articles of Interest:
- “Utilities Unite Against Scammers” distributed by NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association), dated 11/1/2016.
- “Scams: Your Power Will Be Cut in 30 Minutes” distributed by NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association), dated 11/6/17.
- “Summer Scams Heating Up, Consumers Are Warned” distributed by NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association), dated 7/6/18.
Facebook Page that You May Want to Follow:
- Utilities United Against Scams: https://www.facebook.com/UtilitiesUnited/
(Posted on GVEA's Blog on Mar 19, 2019.)