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PVEC warns of phone scam

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative (PVEC) members have been receiving phone calls from people claiming to represent the cooperative staff and threatening to disconnect service. Scammers insist your electric bill needs to be paid immediately or your electric service will be disconnected. PVEC suggests following these tips should you receive a call.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a representative of the cooperative, do not give out any personal or financial information.

“If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, ask for the caller’s name, hang up the phone and call your local cooperative office,” says Lisa Tarver, PVEC billing supervisor.

Do not use a phone number provided by the caller. Locate the correct phone number on your energy bill or at www.pve.coop. This will ensure you are speaking to a PVEC representative.

Because PVEC does sometimes contact members by phone, it can be difficult to identify a scammer from a cooperative representative. Here are some tips:

• If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card.

• If a caller requires you to make an immediate payment or one that could only be made over the phone, PVEC will not require either.

• Powell Valley Electric has a 24-hour answering service available to its co-op members. If there’s a question about the legitimacy of the call, tell the caller you are going to call the Cooperative before paying – then do so.

• Don’t trust your caller ID. Scammers have the ability to use different phone numbers on your caller ID, making it appear the phone call is coming from another party.

If you receive a suspicious call, try to gather as much information as possible. After calling the cooperative to confirm they did not contact you, notify local law enforcement.

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative is a consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric utility that serves more than 30,000 meters in Scott, Lee and Wise counties in Virginia and Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger and Union counties in Tennessee.

Learn more about Powell Valley Electric Cooperative at pve.coop.