Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative warns all consumers to be alert to anyone who calls them, claims to represent NOVEC, and directs them to pay bills with a specific prepaid debit card. The Co-op says the caller is a scammer.
In the last couple of years NOVEC has received a number of reports of phone-scam attempts. So have businesses throughout the nation. Several reports to NOVEC have come from people who live in Maryland and West Virginia — far from NOVEC’s service territory.
On March 25, a NOVEC employee who lives outside of the Co-op’s territory received an automated call. Caller ID indicated that the call was from her electricity provider. The message said her bill was overdue and instructed her to purchase a prepaid debt card, then call back and provide the number on the card. She reported the scam attempt to her utility company.
In 2013, the Virginia Attorney General’s office warned Virginians to be alert to scam phone calls. The office said people who are called are told to purchase a Green Dot Visa card, MoneyPak, or other pre-paid debit card and make a payment over the phone. The AG’s office noted that scammers are apparently targeting Spanish-speaking and elderly people in particular, and businesses.
As in the March 25 call, scammers are “spoofing” utility companies’ phone numbers so that customers who have Caller ID will see the name of their utility provider on their phones.
For more information, visit www.novec.com or call 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500.