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currents ■ Scam Targets CEC Members


Scammers are preying on co-op members by threatening to disconnect their service.


CEC is alerting member to the scam and asking them to report any suspicious calls to the co-op and the local authorities.


Twenty-four miles to the south, members of Lamar County Electric Cooperative in Paris, Texas have been targeted by the same scam.


cammers are targeting members of Choctaw Electric Cooperative, making fake disconnection threats to get phone payments.


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“We’ve had several members in our service area that have been contacted by individuals over the phone who say they will terminate their electricity unless the member makes a payment over the phone via credit card,” said Hilary Pound, supervisor of the Choctaw Electric Cooperative call center.


The caller usually says there is a co-op truck on its way at that moment to disconnect their service.


A business owner in Moyers was contacted by scammers who said they were calling from Public Service Company (PSO). When the business owner said he wasn’t served by PSO, the caller quickly changed his story and said he was calling from Choctaw Electric.


The business owner said he immediately hung up the phone and reported the incident to his co-op.


“We don’t terminate service over the telephone, and we would never call and demand payment by phone,” Pound said.


CEC members at risk of disconnection receive a disconnect notice in the mail. CEC also issues automated courtesy calls to past due accounts that ask the member to contact the co-op to make payment.


“We’ve heard it’s pretty much the same. The caller says they are going to disconnect the member’s power if they don’t give them a debit or credit card number,” said Pound.


Similar scams are popping up across the country. In some cases, the scammer tries to get the consumer to give them a debit or credit card number. At other times, the consumer is told they owe $25o on their bill, and that their power will shut off in one hour. They are urged to make payment by going to the nearest convenience store and purchasing a $250 MoneyPak card. The consumer is then given an out-of-state number to call when they have the card. When they call back with the MoneyPak card number, the scammers drain the card.


Choctaw Electric has alerted local law enforcement and local media about the scam. The co-op also posted alerts on the CEC website, and at co-op offices in Antlers, Hugo and Idabel.


Members who receive suspicious calls should report it immediately to law enforcement and CEC. If the number is visible on Caller I.D., be sure to report it, too.


Remember, CEC representatives will not call you and demand payment over the phone, nor will they come to your door and demand payment. If that happens, hang up, shut the door and call the police.


Bill Payment Options


There’s more than one way to pay your electric bill


Choctaw Electric Cooperative (CEC) provides several convenient bill payment options and payment plans. For more details on any of our payment options, please contact your CEC billing representative at 800-780-6486, or visit www.choctawelectric.coop.


Pay online at www.choctawelectric.coop. Using our secure payment site you can also view your account history, check your account balance, energy usage and more.


Budget Billing. With this option your energy usage is averaged over 12 months, helping you avoid seasonal high bills .


Automatic Payment Plan. Monthly bill payments are automatically withdrawn from your checking, savings, or credit card account.


Prepaid Billing. This plan lets you pay ahead for your electricity. Requires an energy purchase of $50 to begin. No late penalties or disconnect/reconnect fees.


After Hours Payments. Choctaw Electric offers a drive through window and/or payment drop box at CEC office locations in Hugo, Idabel and Antlers.


Authorized Payment Locations. Pay your bill at any of the following locations Monday through Friday during regular office hours.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


First Bank & Trust, Idabel


McCurtain Co. National Bank, Idabel Choctaw Electric Cooperative, Idabel Idabel National Bank, Idabel First Bank, Antlers


Ameri State Bank, Antlers


Choctaw Electric Cooperative, Antlers First National Bank, Broken Bow First Bank and Trust, Broken Bow McCurtain Co. National Bank, Broken Bow Shamrock Bank, Clayton


Choctaw Electric Cooperative, Hugo First Bank, Hugo


First Bank and Trust, Hochatown First State Bank, Valliant


McCurtain Co. National Bank, Valliant First Bank and Trust, Wright City


inside•your•co-op | 5


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