GILMER — Gilmer police on Friday warned customers in 10 counties served by the locally based Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative against a phone scam in which the caller claims to be a debt collector for the corporation.
The calls have been made from a number bearing a 972 area code, and the caller attempts “to gain personal information and banking information from customers” by pretending to work for a company contracting with Upshur-Rural as a debt collector, Gilmer police detective Roxanne Warren said in a news release.
“The caller states that the customer’s payment was not received, and in order to continue their electric service without interruption or disconnection, they must make a payment over the phone by providing a debit card or credit card number,” Mrs. Warren said. “At this time, no customers have reported falling victim to the scam,” which the coop reported to police Friday, she said.
The news release quoted a statement released to police by the cooperative in which UpshurRural warns customers they “will not receive personal calls from UpshurRural employees trying to obtain your personal or payment data.”
“We do make courtesy calls for various account status updates, including past due amounts; however, these calls involve an automated recording and do not request personal or account information,” the cooperative said.
Any time coop members are transacting business with URECC, they “can choose to make electronic payments over a telephone, but in those cases they would be transferred to a secure payments line and then only at the member’s request,” the statement said.
Those with questions, or wanting to report suspicious activity, are urged to contact the coop’s customer care department at 903-8432536 or 800-2592536.
Upshur-Rural has more than 44,000 connected meters in 10 northeast Texas counties: Upshur, Camp, Cass, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Rusk, Smith and Wood.