Power bill payment scam making the rounds

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A power bill payment scam has hit the Columbia area of Duck River Electric Membership Corporation’s service area.

This fraud appears to be aimed at small businesses, especially gas stations, small markets, and convenience stores. Owners and employees are informed by the caller that their DREMC bill is overdue, and the service is subject to immediate disconnection unless they pay via credit or debit card over the phone. A business in Maury County was told that the check used to make electric payment was unsigned and that this needed to be paid by other means to avoid disconnection.

According to the business owner, she did go and purchase a pre-paid credit card and give the card numbers to the caller. It was later the owner decided something did not seem right and called the Columbia office of DREMC. An employee in the DREMC office informed the member that her account was current and that her check had indeed cleared the bank earlier in the month.

DREMC members should be wary of anyone purporting to be a co-op representative who demands an over-the-phone bill payment to prevent service disconnection.

“The business owner did the right thing by calling us to let us know so that we could warn other members,” commented Columbia District Manager Michael Trew. “Unfortunately, the owner did not call us before making a payment to the scam group and fell victim to the crime.”

Trew further advised that if a member receives such a call to immediately hang up the phone. “If you ever have any question about your bill or recent payment, dial your local DREMC office yourself to ensure that you are talking to an actual DREMC employee working in one of our local offices,” advised Trew. “You just can’t be too careful these days.”

DREMC members will receive mail notices of bills past due and scheduled disconnection. There also are a variety of ways to pay bills, including in the local offices, by phone talking to a DREMC representative on lines manned 24/7, online at www.dremc.com and by using the co-op’s mobile app (a free download).

Duck River EMC, a Touchstone Energy® cooperative, is a not-for-profit, member owned organization providing electric and other services to more than 73,000 homes and businesses in southern Middle Tennessee. Duck River EMC serves an area of approximately 2,500 square miles in Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Rutherford, and Williamson counties in southern Middle Tennessee.