Don’t Fall Victim to Scams
There have been recent incidents where both residential and local business members have been contacted by scammers pretending to be Umatilla Electric, Hermiston Energy Services (HES) or other utility employees. The scammers call members and advise them that they have a short deadline to make a payment. The scammer then asks the customers to go to a local retailer (such as Walmart or RiteAid) and purchase a prepaid card or money pack for the given amount, and then call another number to share the account number on that card.
Protect Yourself from Scammers By Remembering These Tips:
- UEC will NEVER come to your door and demand an immediate payment.
- UEC will NEVER call and ask you for your bank information or a credit card number.
- If a UEC employee has a service-related reason to come to your door, he/she will ALWAYS carry a UEC employee or Contractor ID badge. The only reason an employee would need to enter your home is for a scheduled Energy Audit.
- If you suspect someone at your door is impersonating a UEC or government employee, DO NOT let him/her into your home! Call your local police department and then call us at 1.541.567.6414.
- Scammers may claim to work for a public agency or government office offering ways to pay your UEC or HES bill. NEVER give anyone your credit card information, your UEC account information including a copy of your electric bill or account number or any other personal banking information.
- If you have any doubt about the legitimacy of a situation, or questions about a possible scam, please call Umatilla Electric directly at 1.541.567.6414 to verify.
Common Scam Tactics
Unauthorized Phone Calls or In-Person Collection Visits
Criminals have been known to call or visit members, claim that the customer’s account is past due and that the electricity will be disconnected if the customer does not provide payment immediately. Often, the member is asked to purchase a pre-paid debit card and provide the account number on the card. With access to the account number, criminals use the money on the pre-paid card for their own benefit. Criminals have frequently targeted senior citizens or those speaking English as a second language.
Remember: UEC and HES will never call or visit members to ask for personal or financial information like a credit card, debit card, banking information, or social security number over the phone.
New Federal Stimulus Program Claiming the Government Will Pay Your Bill
Criminals have been known to contact electric utility members by email, U.S. mail, social media, text or phone call and offer enrollment in a program where the President of the United States or some other government entity will help pay their electric bill through a new Federal stimulus program. There is no such program.
Remember: UEC urges customers to refrain from giving out personal information if contacted about this or similar offers. Instead, please call local law enforcement.
Impersonating Umatilla Electric Employees
There have been reports about individuals impersonating UEC, HES or other utility employees who ask for cash, credit and debit payment, financial information or social security numbers.
Remember: UEC will never call you or send an employee to your home or business to collect a payment. Please do not provide payments or your personal or financial information to anyone who calls or visits your home or business claiming to be a utility employee.