A Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative (VVEC) member in the Claremore area Tuesday was the target of a telephone scam.
The Claremore man contacted the co-op after he was called and asked to participate in a survey regarding the VVEC monthly newsletter. The member was asked for his credit card information so that the caller could charge the cost of the newsletter.
VVEC is not conducting a telephone survey and the co-op strongly urges members not to participate, should they be contacted, said VVEC General Manager Alice Houston.
“This is a scam,” she said. “Anytime we conduct a phone survey of our members, we let them know in advance that they may be contacted. We let them know the purpose of the survey and encourage them to contact us for verification if they have questions.”
VVEC advises members of surveys through a monthly member newsletter the VVEC Power Circuit, on their website and through press releases to area newspapers.
The Claremore member said he received a call by a man who said he was representative of VVEC. The caller was taking a survey to see if the member read the monthly newsletter and then said because of an increase in the cost of paper that the newsletter is printed on, the newsletter was going to cost members $72 a year.
He advised the member he could take a one-time credit card payment over the phone or the member could spread the payment throughout a three-month period. The caller said he could reduce the monthly charge if the member made a one-time payment.
“The member said he didn’t think that sounded right, so he ended the conversation and did not give the caller his credit card information,” said Houston. “We appreciate him letting us know about this so we can advise the rest of our membership about this scam.”
Sgt. Jason Cummings of the Claremore Police Department said anyone who thinks they have been contacted by a scammer should contact their local police department or sheriff’s office.
“It is helpful to give law enforcement as much information as possible,” said Cummings. “The caller’s phone number may be blocked so it may show as ‘unavailable’ on Caller ID, but record the number if there is one. And never give out personal financial information such as credit or debit card or banking information to someone you don’t know.”
Individuals who feel they may be victims of a telephone scam can contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General.