Phone scam launched on Christmas Eve still targeting merchants
La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) is once again cautioning its members to not be fooled by an impersonator who continues to call businesses in Durango, claiming to be from LPEA’s billing department and attempting to fraudulently secure credit card numbers. Seasons Rotisserie & Grill received a call today (Monday, Dec. 30).
“The first time we heard about this was Christmas Eve,” said Steve Gregg, LPEA manager of operations, noting that at the time the co-op alerted the media for help in alerting members. “The caller apparently indicates that the businesses’ LPEA account is past due, and if payment is not made immediately by credit card, then the electricity would be disconnected. LPEA doesn’t do business that way.”
In compliance with federal regulations, LPEA’s Customer Service Representatives do not accept credit card payments over the phone. If a member calls in to pay by credit card, the member is directed to a secure, automated voice system. Also, when an account is past due, LPEA customers receive a series of notices and are given adequate time to settle their bills before any disconnect would take place. Further, LPEA would not disconnect members on a holiday or a weekend.
Last week LPEA received notices that China Café, Tacos Nayarit and Mutu’s Italian Kitchen in Durango, had been called by the attempted scammer. Season’s called LPEA today.
“These are the four we know of,” said Gregg. “Chances are there have been many more attempts.”
If in doubt about a billing department phone call from LPEA, members are asked to politely end the conversation and call the LPEA Customer Service Department, 970.247.5786, to clarify any billing questions. If the call is blatantly fraudulent, members should also call the local authorities.
LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with nearly 41,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible.