Duck River Co-op Warns Of New Scam Aimed At Commercial Accounts

scam4Scammers are threatening convenience stores in Franklin County with disconnection unless they pay Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) bills for August that they claim were not processed due to a “glitch in the system.”
The calls came from an 801-prefix telephone number. In each case, the female caller blamed a problem with the payment processing system and said that, unless the stores could resubmit the August amounts due, a “technician” would be sent to pull the meters.
The caller promised that the payments would be reimbursed when the processing system was back on line.
The store owners became alarmed and called the co-op’s Decherd district office.
District Manager Patrick Hannah cautions all DREMC members that “we don’t contact folks in that manner.” He warns that anyone receiving such a call should immediately hang up and get in touch with the co-op.
Earlier this year, scam artists targeted stores and other commercial accounts in the Manchester area, part of a growing problem that started with con games aimed at residential co-op members across the state.
The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA) issued a statewide alert in April due to the volume of such calls.
“The calls sound official, and the caller ID may even display the utility name,” said TECA Executive Vice President and General Manager David Callis.
DREMC started receiving complaints from members about utility scams in August of 2013. Since then, the co-op’s advice has been to never share banking, identity or personal information with callers who make unsolicited telephone or in-person contact.
“It seems there is new version of the utility bill scam launched every month,” said Steve Oden, DREMC’s director of member services. “We don’t want our members to be taken in by these thieves. Don’t help them make you a victim. Hang up.”