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Thread: SCAM Alerts: MSP, SMECO, MetCom

  1. #1
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    SCAM Alerts: MSP, SMECO, MetCom

    PHONE SCAMMER USES MSP NUMBER FOR CREDIT CARD RECORDING

    (PIKESVILLE, MD) - Maryland State Police are warning the public about a reported telephone scam in which the caller cloned a state police number for a recording call offering credit card services.

    A woman from Baltimore County called the Maryland State Police Monday afternoon and reported she had received a call in which the caller ID on her phone showed "Maryland State Government" and the number 410-653-4241, which is a number for the Maryland State Police Office of Media Communications. However, when she answered the call, it was a recording to offer credit card services.

    The Maryland State Police have no connection to any credit card company and would never solicit such information or services over the phone from any citizen. Anyone who receives such a phone call should hang up and then contact their local state police barrack. Callers may remain anonymous.
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  2. #2
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    SMECO Customers Report Scam Calls

    Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) was recently contacted by about 20 customer-members who received phone calls from scammers targeting businesses in the area. Scammers may identify themselves as SMECO employees and demand prepaid debit cards in order to avoid having electric service cut off.

    According to Tom Dennison, managing director of government and public affairs at SMECO, "Scammers like to target businesses because they cannot allow their power to be turned off during business hours. Businesses have higher bills and usually have more than one person authorized to pay bills. Scammers exploit the lack of communication between employees and threaten to disconnect power within the hour."

    To cause further confusion, scammers can make the name of the utility appear on a customer's caller ID, and they have improved their ability to trick people by duplicating voice recordings and imitating utility phone systems.

    Dennison said, "If customers receive a phone call from someone threatening to disconnect their power, they may hang up. If they want to verify account information, they can call SMECO directly. Our contact center is open 24 hours a day, every day. SMECO's phone number is 1-888-440-3311, and it's printed on every customer bill." The following describes SMECO's routine for collecting payments from customers.

    -- SMECO will mail a termination notice if a bill is past due.

    -- SMECO calls customers who owe a past due balance using an automated phone system with a recorded message; rarely will SMECO employees make personal "collection" phone calls.

    -- Collection calls are made about 10 days before service is to be terminated. SMECO does not require payment at the time of the call.

    -- Unknown callers who give short deadlines and threaten to cut off service within an hour or two are probably running a scam.

    -- SMECO does not make collection calls or terminate service on weekends or holidays.

    -- If service is going to be terminated, a SMECO collector will knock on the customer's door before turning off service.

    -- SMECO collectors will accept credit card payments, checks, or money orders, but they do not accept cash.

    "SMECO issues alerts when customers notify us that these scams are taking place. We want to prevent these crooks from stealing thousands of dollars from unsuspecting residents and businesses," said Dennison. "We don't want people to be tricked out of their hard-earned money so we educate our customers on how they can protect themselves."

    For customers who believe they have received a fraudulent email or phone call, some basic guidelines follow.

    -- Customers should use the phone number printed on their monthly bill and only give payment information over the phone if they initiate the contact.

    -- Customers should not provide personal information, banking information, user names, passwords, or account information to unauthorized callers or in an email.

    -- Customers should not provide Green Dot, Western Union, or Moneygram payments to unauthorized callers.

    -- Customers should never meet unauthorized callers at a local store or bank to make a payment-their personal safety could be at risk.
    What are you going to do today to make the world a better place?

  3. #3
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    Metcom warns customers to avoid phone scams

    MetCom has been alerted that some of our customers may have been the target of phone scams. Scammers may identify themselves as MetCom employees and demand prepaid debit cards in order to avoid having water service cut off. These phone scammers can make MetCom's name appear on a customer's caller ID.

    MetCom does not call customers and threaten to turn the water off. If you receive such a call, call the MetCom office to verify current balance and account status.

    Please be aware of the following:

    A turn-off letter is mailed to the customer with the date by which payment must be made before an account is turned off.

    MetCom does not turn off customer's water at night, on the weekends or holidays due to non- payment.

    MetCom has issued alerts when customers have notified us that these scams are taking place. These scams can enable crooks to steal from unsuspecting residents and businesses. To protect themselves from possible scams, customers should contact MetCom using the phone number printed on the monthly bill and should not give payment information or prepaid card information over the phone . Never provide personal information, banking inform ation, user names, passwords or account information to unauthorized callers or in an email.

    MetCom has a variety of payment options available for customers: the ability to pay online, as either a one-time payment or a recurring payment at www.metcom.org; by check or money order via U.S. mail; and in person at our California Office, located at 23121 Camden Way, California, Maryland 20619. Learn more at www.metcom.org/billing.
    What are you going to do today to make the world a better place?

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