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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

SMECO: Watch Out for Scammers

Know What You Owe

Scammers have been calling customer members of Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative and making threats, and the cooperative wants to make sure residents of the area know about the illegal activity.

Residents need to be vigilant to keep from being tricked. Payment scams are become more prevalent as technology continues to develop and scammers have found new ways to cheat unsuspecting consumers out of their hard-earned money. SMECO wants to keep scammers from victimizing its customers.

If someone calls and threatens to disconnect your power, hang up. You can then call SMECO directly and get the peace of mind of verifying your account information. The co-op’s customer care center is open 24 hours a day, every day. The phone number is 1-888-440-3311, and it’s printed on every customer bill.

If a bill is actually unpaid, SMECO has a routine for collecting payments.

First, SMECO mails a termination notice if a bill is past due.

Next, the co-op calls customers who owe a past due balance using an automated phone system with a recorded message; it’s rare for a SMECO employee to make personal “collection” phone calls.

Collection calls are made around 10 days before service gets terminated.

SMECO does not require payment at the time of the call.

Unknown callers who give short deadlines and threaten to cut off service within an hour or two are scammers.

The co-op does not make collection calls or terminate service on weekends or holidays.

If service is going to be cut off, a SMECO collector will knock on the customer’s door before turning off service.

Collectors can then accept credit card payments, checks, or money orders, but they will not accept cash.

For customers who think they have received a fraudulent email or phone call, there are some basic guidelines to follow.

Use the phone number printed on your monthly bill and only give payment information over the phone if you initiate the contact with SMECO.

Don’t provide personal information, user names, banking information, passwords, or account information to unauthorized callers or by email.

Never provide Green Dot, Western Union, or Moneygram payments to unauthorized callers.

Do not meet unauthorized callers at any location to make a payment — your personal safety could be at risk.

To learn more about SMECO, please visit their Leader member page.

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