Those nasty scammers are at it again!
In the last few days, SMECO has received multiple calls from customer-members and local businesses who received phone calls from scammers targeting the Southern Maryland area. Scammers may identify themselves as SMECO employees and demand payment in order to avoid having electric service cut off.
If you receive a phone call from someone threatening to disconnect your power, you may hang up. If you want to verify account information, you can call SMECO directly. Our contact center is open 24 hours a day, every day. SMECO’s phone number is 1-888-440-3311, and it’s printed on every customer bill.
Learn more about staying safe from scams: https://www.smeco.coop/safety/scam-alerts
Know SMECO’s procedures:
Customers should only give payment information over the phone if they initiate the call. Callers who give short deadlines and threaten to cut off service within an hour or two are probably running a scam. SMECO has a set routine for collecting payments from customers.
- SMECO will mail a termination notice if a bill is past due.
- SMECO only calls customers who owe a past due balance.
- SMECO usually uses an automated phone system with a recorded message; rarely will SMECO employees make personal “collection” phone calls.
- Collection calls are made about 10 days before service is to be terminated. SMECO does not require payment at the time of the call.
- SMECO does not make collection calls or terminate service on weekends or holidays.
- If service is going to be terminated, a SMECO collector will knock on the customer’s door before turning off service.
- SMECO collectors will accept credit card payments, checks, or money orders, but they do not accept cash.
If a customer is concerned about the status of an account, a SMECO contact center representative can provide helpful information. SMECO customers should call 1-888-440-3311. The phone number is printed at the top of customer bills and SMECO’s contact center is open all day, every day.
Because SMECO does initiate automated collection calls and customers can choose to make a payment over the phone, some phone calls are legitimate. Alternate energy suppliers and solar companies that are trying to conduct business legitimately may also contact customers to offer their services, but customers should never feel obligated to provide their account information. Legitimate companies can provide services without requiring a customer’s account number.
SMECO wants to prevent phone scammers from victimizing customers by simplifying the payment process. SMECO has a number of ways customers can pay their bills that will help prevent confusion.
- Customers can use budget billing to pay the same amount every month.
- They can use AutoPay to have payments made automatically with a credit card or checking account.
- Customers can easily go online and make weekly payments if that helps them with their personal budget.
Avoid e-mail scams:
SMECO’s e-mails contain account-specific information and distinctive orange and green colors. Do not open e-mails from unfamiliar sources.
- If an e-mail looks suspicious, it may contain malware or links to a virus-infected website.
- Customers can simply delete the suspicious e-mail and contact SMECO by phone or log on to SMECO’s bill payment website.
- Customers should not provide personal information, credit card, debit card, banking information or user names and passwords in an e-mail.
Our goal is to make it easy for customers to do business with SMECO, and we offer a variety of payment methods that are free and convenient. We also want our customer-members to protect themselves from scams, so remember these helpful tips.
Utilities United Against Scammers:
With scammers taking Americans for untold billions of dollars every year, the nation’s utilities are banding together to raise awareness and fight back.