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Originally published: 2013-10-24 10:35:10
Last modified: 2013-10-24 10:35:55

Our View: Scam answer is a hang-up

We live in a hectic world, and in the midst of that it's easy to overlook a due date on a payment. And that's what telephone scammers are counting on.

If you're one of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation's 74,000 customers, you could be a target for a scam once largely the domain of our Spanish-speaking community, but has since moved into the company's entire database.

It's this simple: A Blue Ridge Electric customer gets an unsolicited phone call from a person who falsely claims to work for the cooperative. Your bill is overdue, the caller explains, and your utilities face termination unless you make an immediate payment via credit card or e-check. 

The solution to disarming this scam is equally as simple: Before you make that payment, hang up the phone. Call the cooperative's office and check on the identification of the person who called you. At that point, if you have legitimate business to transact, you'll know it's being handled honestly. If that business was not legitimate, you'll know that, too -- and then you can make a final call to alert law enforcement.

Blue Ridge Electric is aware of the scam, and it appreciates customers who, unsure of who they are talking to, take the extra step to hang up on scammers. 

After all, it's not an issue of manners. It's a matter of safety and security in a hectic world.