Phone scam: How to bust the scammers and see through their deception

By Nicholas Sakelaris | CoServ

Scammers will try anything to get your money – even impersonating CoServ Customer Care Specialists.

But these criminals don’t “care” and they aren’t “specialists” so it’s easy to see through their deception if you know what to look for. Sometimes, scammers will try to sell you on something that’s not possible or even illegal.

“The bottom line for all scams is this – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Stephen Meers, Director of Customer Operations.

Other times, they’re counting on you being so panicked at the possibility of having your utilities cut off that you act impulsively.

One common tactic used by scammers is to request that you pay your balance using a gift card – that way you can’t dispute it with your bank later so there’s little chance you can get the money back. It’s happened to CoServ Electric Members and Gas Customers, both residential and commercial.

Chances are, they don’t know what your real balance due is – they’re quoting a fake amount – but you can look up your real balance easily through SmartHub.

“If they call you and try to rush you into making a payment or using an unconventional payment method, such as a gift card, to avoid disconnection, that’s also a red flag,” Stephen said.

Scammers also tend to be more active during holiday weekends or other busy times of the year because they know people are distracted.

HOW TO KEEP FROM BEING A VICTIM OF SCAMMERS

Three things CoServ will NEVER do:

  • Call demanding immediate payment by credit card to avoid disconnection
  • Call about a past-due balance one hour before disconnection
  • Call demanding payment for equipment such as a meter

What CoServ DOES do when an account is past due:

  • Gives Members 17 days to pay their bill before they get charged a late fee
  • If the bill is still past due, a disconnection notice is mailed out 3 days after the due date, which gives another 10 days to pay before service is disconnected. The notice will be bright pink so it’s easy to spot in the mail
  • CoServ sends notifications and emails about past-due balances and pending disconnections through SmartHub

How to protect yourself if you get a suspicious phone call:

  • If you are even slightly suspicious of a caller, check your balance with one click using the CoServ app or log in at CoServ.com/SmartHub
  • Hang up and call our friendly Customer Care Specialists at (940) 321-7800. They will tell you what’s going on with your account

 

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