Don't become a victim. In one of the most common scams, a caller may:
- Pretend to be from your utility. (Your caller ID may even display your utility's name or phone number.)
- Threaten to turn off the power, water or natural gas service to your home or business in an hour.
- Demand immediate payment - often by a prepaid debit card, reloadable card, gift card or cryptocurrency.
What TCEC Does:
- We use an automated system to make recorded courtesy calls to members regarding their accounts. These calls direct recipients to our secure payment line.
- We submit aged delinquent balances on closed accounts to Online Utility Exchange, which contacts our members by phone to collect payment.
- Call to threaten a service disconnection if payment is not made immediately.
- Come to your home or business to collect payment in person.
- Ask you to pay with a prepaid card, or payment app such as Cash App, Venmo, or Zelle. TCEC's official app is SmartHub.
- Call from an out-of-state number.
- Instruct you not to call any other TCEC number to make payment.
- Have a technician call you to say they are coming out to disconnect the power.
- Request a cash payment at your home or business.
- Threaten a service disconnection on holidays or weekends.
- Try to sell you products or services by phone or door-to-door, including solar panels, energy audits, “important energy-saving initiatives,” or more.
Here's what to do if the call seems suspicious:
- Stop and hang up immediately.
- Call your utility provider at the phone number on your bill (TCEC can be reached at 580.652.2418). Verify your account status with the representative and report the suspicious call. You can also check your account balance and make payments using SmartHub.
- Do not pay over the phone if immediate payment is demanded to avoid disconnection.
If you got a call from or were contacted by a fake utility company, the Federal Trade Commission recommends you take these steps:
- Report the scam to your utility company online or by calling a number you know is real
- Report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
- Report it to your state attorney general.
- Use secure, unique passwords and never share them.
Protect your computer by using security software. Set the software to update automatically so it can deal with any new security threats.
Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication. Some accounts offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. This is called multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.
Protect your data by backing it up. Back up your data and make sure those backups aren’t connected to your home network. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up the data on your phone, too.
Get more tips from the Federal Trade Commission.