IREA wants to make customers aware of a variety of scams that frequently target utility customers.
If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of any call, email, or visit from someone claiming to be from IREA, especially one in which payment is requested, you should contact us directly at (800) 332-9540.
Being well-informed can help you detect suspicious behavior and ultimately help you to avoid a scam. Below are a few of the latest scams that could affect you. Call your local law enforcement if you suspect any of these:
Pre-Paid Card Phone Scams
This scam targets small commercial businesses and some residential customers. The scheme works like this: Customers receive a call, sometimes from an out-of-state area code, telling them their electric service is scheduled for immediate disconnection and they need to make a payment by purchasing a “Green Dot” Visa or other pre-paid card at a local convenience store. After the customer purchases the card, they are told to call back and provide the card number. Once that information is obtained, the monetary value is withdrawn by those behind the scheme. Legitimate IREA calls will not come from phone numbers with out-of-state area codes. IREA employees do not call customers to demand immediate payment. Our disconnect notification calls are automated and instruct customers to contact IREA directly to make payment. In a variation of the phone scam, customers are sent automated messages telling them to call IREA at a number that does not belong to IREA. When the customer calls the number, they are instructed by a person acting as if they are an IREA employee to procure a pre-paid card for immediate payment. Use caution. When calling these numbers, there sometimes are elaborate voicemail systems that even sound like IREA’s automated answering system. When in doubt, call IREA directly at (800) 332-9540.
Federal Assistance Scam
This scam features a phony nationwide program that promises to credit or pay utility bills in exchange for personal information, including Social Security numbers. The scam, which has been reported in a number of states, claims that the president is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. These scam messages are delivered through text message, social media and email.
Online Bill-Pay Scam
Another scam involves emails containing mock links to online bills and asks for additional information before collecting payment. If you receive your bills by email, compare your latest emails, verify the sending email address matches that of previous eBills, and beware of links that redirect you to other websites. Remember, you can safely view your bills online by logging directly into My Account via www.IREA.coop.
This scam involves someone showing up at a home pretending to be an IREA employee on a service call. IREA employees visiting a residence on a service call will always carry ID badges, wear uniforms identifying them clearly as IREA employees and be driving our signature yellow work trucks with the IREA logo. In the case of disconnect for nonpayment, IREA will notify customers with a bill, then a written disconnect notice, and finally with an automated phone call prior to disconnecting service. If you doubt the identification of the person at your door, do not allow them into your home or on your property. Contact IREA immediately at (800) 332-9540 to verify whether the person is an IREA employee on a legitimate service call. Always ask to see a valid ID. In most instances, scammers will quickly depart if you inform them you are calling to confirm their identity.
Bottom line: If you are contacted by phone, email or other communication by someone claiming to be from IREA and requesting your social security number, username or password, or that you procure a pre-paid card to make immediate payment, do not respond in any manner. Call IREA directly at (800) 332-9540. If you suspect you potentially are a victim of a scam, also contact local law enforcement immediately.