Occasionally, Magic Valley members report falling or almost falling prey to scams by people falsely posing as cooperative employees. Many utility companies across the U.S. have received calls from consumers reporting scams.
The scam is always the same story. A consumer receives a phone call from someone saying their payment was declined or never received and demands immediate payment to avoid being disconnected.
The best way to avoid getting tricked by scammers is to know the tricks they use – and the red flags that signal scams.
How to Spot a Scam
In one of the most common scams, a caller may:
- Pretend to be from Magic Valley EC. (Your caller ID may even display our name).
- Threaten to turn off power to your home or business within an hour.
- Demand immediate payment – often by a prepaid debit card or gift card.
What MVEC Does
- If a member does not pay their bill by the due date, MVEC will mail a disconnect notice to the member’s home address, with a disconnection date listed on the notice.
- All MVEC employees carry photo identification badges, travel in company vehicles and wear MVEC uniform shirts.
- We submit aged delinquent balances on closed accounts to MPB Credit Bureau, which contacts our members by phone to collect payment.
What We NEVER Do
- Call to threaten a service disconnection if payment is not made immediately.
- Ask you to pay with a prepaid card.
- Call from an out-of-state number.
- Instruct you not to call any other MVEC number to make payment.
- Have a technician call you to say they are coming out to disconnect power.
- Request a cash payment at your home or business.
- Threaten a service disconnection on holidays or weekends.
- Try to sell you products or services by phone or door-to-door, including solar panels, energy audits, “important energy-saving initiatives” or more.
The best ways to avoid getting scammed
- Don’t respond: If you’re not 100% certain of the source of the call, email or text, then hang up the phone, don’t click on the link in the email, and don’t reply to the text message.
- Don’t trust caller ID or answer phone calls from unknown numbers: If you recognize the caller ID but the call seems suspicious, hang up the phone. Phone numbers can be easily spoofed to appear to be from a legitimate caller.
- Don’t give out your information: Do not give out any personal identifiable information unless you’re absolutely certain the person and reason are legitimate. Remember: Magic Valley will never ask you to send us personal information such as an account number or Social Security number.
- Research and validate: If the individual or organization seems suspicious, make sure the request being made is legitimate by calling Magic Valley at 866-225-5683.
What You Can Do
If you are contacted by someone claiming to be an MVEC employee, verify it by contacting us on our phone number 866- 225-5683, which is printed on your bill. If you receive a suspicious call, please attempt to take note of as much as you can about the scam attempt, then hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency or the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to file a report. We also encourage members to then contact us with any information about the scam, so that we can attempt to have the scammer’s phone number disconnected.
If you are approached by someone claiming to work for MVEC, ask to see their identification or call our toll-free number to verify their identity. Verify calls from MPB by calling the collection bureau directly at 800-550-7902.