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The official voice of West Florida Electric Cooperative:
Don't Fall Victim to Utility Scams
Every day, millions of Americans are targeted by scammers through phone calls, emails, texts, online or in person. Scammers' tactics might change daily, which is why it is important for our members to stay on top of the latest scam reports from news outlets as well as us, your local electric cooperative.
It happens often - West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC) members are targeted through a phone scam where someone demands immediate payment for their bill and threatens to shut off the power if money is not received. WFEC will never call you to demand immediate payment without notice.
Many tactics are used to perpetrate scams but there are two that seem to be trending - the overpayment trick and smishing (short for SMS phishing). The overpayment trick is when someone contacts you and claims you have overpaid your utility bill. They will say they need your personal banking info to deposit the credit back into your account. Don't fall for this! If you overpay your WFEC bill, we will automatically apply the credit to your account, which carries over to your next billing cycle.
SMS phishing is done via text message. Most of us know to be suspicious of emails from third parties but we tend to trust texts. Always question suspicious texts, especially from someone claiming to represent the co-op.
WFEC will only send you updates via text message if you've signed up for our text notifications or outage texting service. These are just some examples of scams, so it is important to watch for any red flags.
Our increasingly connected world provides scammers with more and more opportunities to connect with unsuspecting members. Be vigilant, and report any utility scams to the cooperative so we can let others in our communities know. Together, we can help prevent our friends and neighbors from being victimized.
If you are contacted by someone claiming to represent WFEC but you're unsure, just hang up and contact the cooperative directly at (800) 342-7400 to verify.