Shenandoah Valley electric co-op warns customers of phone scam

Posted: November 5, 2012

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative officials are warning members of a potential scam.

According to a company press release, an SVEC customer in the Winchester area was contacted by a person who claimed to be an employee of the cooperative.

The impostor told the member that a disconnection of power would be necessary if she did not pay a delinquent SVEC account amount immediately by credit card.

“We want our customers to know that we will not contact them via phone in relation to their account,” said Mike Aulgur, manager of external affairs.

SVEC officials only contact members via mail, he said.

Officials were notified of the potential scam when the member went to the Winchester office to check on the situation.

When the scammer called back, the member informed the person that she was in the SVEC office, and the caller hung up.

The SVEC has notified authorities.

In September, SVEC warned of a scam, reported in the Midwest, in which customers were being called and asked to purchase a Green Dot debit card in order to avoid having their power shut off.

The scammer posed as an employee of the electric company and asked for the card’s number.

Prepaid Green Dot debit cards are available at local stores and pharmacies. Consumers add money to the cards with cash and then use them to pay bills and add money to online accounts.

The cards are often difficult to trace because only cash is used.

Aulgur said the current scam is more serious because it deals with direct client information.

Members are asked to call local police if they receive similar calls, and then to call their SVEC office.

For Winchester and Frederick County members, that number is 540-450-0111.

— Contact Rebecca Layne