Gainesville Daily Register

March 6, 2013

Cooke County Electric official warns of scam

By DELANIA TRIGG, Register Staff Writer

Cooke County — MUENSTER — An official with Cooke County Electric Cooperative recently warned of a scam designed to steal customer’s financial information.

Electric Cooperative member services manager John Walterscheid said one of his customers received a phone call Tuesday about a delinquent account and was asked to make a credit card payment to settle the debt.

“About 1:30 yesterday afternoon they received this call, and they said the caller said they were delinquent on their payment,” Walterscheid said. “Whoever called our member had a foreign accent so that sent up a flag immediately. The member checked their account online and yes, their bill was due but not past due.”

He said the customer called Cooke County Electric and gave company officials the phone number linked to the scam call.

“When we called the number we found out it was a jeweler who had no idea someone was using his number for a scam,” Walterscheid said, adding anyone who receives a telephone request for an account payment should hang up and call the company for verification.

“We want to make sure everybody in the community knows if someone is asking for your personal financial information, don’t give it to them,” he said. “Call the company directly and make sure they were the one who called you.”

Walterscheid also noted his company doesn’t call customers in reference to delinquent accounts.

“We do not contact members by phone for past due payments as part of the collection process,” he said. “We do take credit card payments but we don’t solicit them.”

Walterscheid said he hopes to call attention to the potential scam before area residents become victims.

“We want to be proactive and take it out to the community as a whole,” he said. “Everyone should be cautious about what information they give out, especially if you’re not the one initiating the call.”