Utilities around the country are reporting an increase in scam attempts, and Fairbanks is no exception.
Just today, GVEA has again received numerous calls from members providing details of calls they’ve received this morning and last night.
With today’s calls, the scammers, who identify themselves as GVEA employees, seem to have taken it up a notch. The phone number that appears in the caller ID is GVEA’s main corporate line: 907-452-1151. Additionally, scammers are providing a 1-888- phone number to call (it’s a number very similar to GVEA’s toll-free number), which does, in fact, work and a man identifying himself as GVEA employee “Paul” answers the phone.
All these various calls threaten disconnect of power if payment is not made. Another member was instructed to go to Fred Meyers and purchase a “Green Money Pack” gift card to prevent disconnect. A third member said that the scammer stated “repairs have been made to their meter, and payment for the repairs was needed” immediately to prevent disconnect.
Another potential scam may arrive in your email, posing as a link to your utility bill. Clicking on the link will download malware to your computer.
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 recover those funds, except recommend filing a police report.
Be aware of the scammer’s tricks:
- Scammers sometimes tell members who question the past due amount that they could pay a discounted amount to take care of the balance.
- Most members who have reported this scam do not have past due accounts.
- Scammers sometimes imply they have a member’s account number and amount of their last bill.
- Scammers demand prepaid cards, such as Green Dot MoneyPak cards, or credit card numbers.
- Scammers sometimes provide a phone number members can allegedly call to confirm the authenticity of the claim. The phone numbers provided will go directly to the scammers.
- Hover over an email reply address – without clicking – to ensure the actual address has your utility’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 numbers, banking information or your Social Security number).
Additional cautions for our members:
- GVEA will notify you via the U.S. Postal Service if and when an account becomes delinquent and becomes subject to possible disconnection. Furthermore, a professional GVEA member service representative will provide you with a variety of ways to make a payment, which includes coming into one of our offices (Fairbanks, Delta Junction or Nenana).
- You will not be asked for credit card information over the phone, nor will you be asked to obtain prepaid cards to pay your bill.
- You may be asked to verify the last four digits of your Social Security number to identify yourself, but GVEA will not ask for complete Social Security numbers.
If you have any questions regarding the validity of a caller or email, please contact GVEA directly.