People’s Energy Cooperative warns members of phone utility scams

(ABC 6 News) – People’s Energy Cooperative (PEC) said on Tuesday they have received multiple reports from members who were the targets of phone utility scams.

PEC said members described being told that their electricity would be shut off in 30 minutes without immediate payment and the call came from a ‘507’ phone number.

PEC said employees will never ask members for bank or payment information over the phone, and will only ask for information to identify who a member is. PEC says payment information can only be accepted through their secure, automated phone system or their online account management system, SmartHub.

The following are a few reminders on how to take control of the situation when you’re being targeted by a scammer:

  • Take your time: Utility scammers try to create a sense of urgency, so you’ll act fast and hand over personal information, especially over the phone.  Take a moment to think about the situation before acting.
  • Be suspicious: Scammers typically request immediate payments through prepaid debit cards or third-party apps.  Unusual requests like this should raise red flags.  Remember, if the request seems strange and out of the ordinary, you’re likely being targeted by a scammer.
  • Confirm before you act: If you’re contacted by someone claiming to represent People’s Energy or another utility but you’re unsure, just hang up the phone and call the utility directly.  You can reach us at (800) 214-2694 to verify the situation.

People’s Energy Cooperative is a member-owned electric cooperative celebrating 85 years of delivering retail electric power to its 20,000 consumer-members in Olmsted, Dodge, Fillmore, Mower, Wabasha, and Winona Counties.

People’s Energy Cooperative is a Touchstone Energy® cooperative and a member-owner in the Dairyland Power system of electric cooperatives that generates and transmits reliable electric power in 62 counties of four states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois).  People’s is an equal opportunity provider and employer.