WARNING: Power Shut Off Scams: Caller Posing as Utility Demands Immediate Payment

LENOIR, NC (February 24, 2020) — In this ongoing widespread scam, which frequently targets residential accounts or small businesses, a telephone caller poses as an electric utility company employee. The caller claims the person or business is behind on their electric bill and threatens to shut off the customer’s power unless an immediate payment is made. In many cases, the customer is told to use a pre-paid debit card or a money transfer service.

In some cases, the scammer has information about the person’s address and directs them to a particular site to pay.

Blue Ridge Energy is warning members about this ongoing scam, which takes on various forms as scammers try different tactics to gain consumer trust to get their money.

Blue Ridge Energy provides the following information to help members not fall prey to a utility scammer:

The facts:

  • If your account is past due, you will receive written notice of your account status, with instructions on how to avoid disconnection of service, on your monthly bill from Blue Ridge Energy. In fact, you’ll receive several notices and opportunities to pay late bill.
  • While our representative may call a member whose bill is in arrears in order to remind them that a payment is due, the representative would explain how a payment can be made using our established payment options, including logging into your personal online account at BlueRidgeEnergy.com, coming by our office or calling us at 1-800-451-5474. We will not demand payment over the phone, in person, or at any particular physical location.
  • Our utilities do not accept prepaid debit cards or wire transfers as payment, and our representatives will not demand your bank information or credit card number over the phone.

What should you do:

  • If you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately. NEVER share any of your personal information such as your banking account information, social security number, or Blue Ridge Energy account number.
  • Be aware that scammers often use Caller ID spoofing software to misrepresent the source of a phone call, or provide you with a fake “verification” phone number. These call-back numbers may even include exact replicas of company greetings and hold messaging.
  • If you would like to verify your account status, Blue Ridge Energy is available 24/7 by calling any of the numbers on our website: www.blueridgeenergy.com/company/locations, or by logging into to your account under “My Account” at BlueRidgeEnergy.com. You also have access to your account when you download and log into your account on our Blue Ridge Energy mobile app.
  • If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, please contact your local police department or your state attorney general’s office.

Blue Ridge Energy reminds members to always be alert for possible scams. Protect yourself by knowing how to check your account and how to contact a number you are sure is for Blue Ridge Energy any time, day or night, that you have a question about your account status.

Blue Ridge Energy serves some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties. Learn more at BlueRidgeEnergy.com.