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Don’t Let a Phone Call Ruin Christmas

Chepko | iStock.com

2021 has been hard on all of us. Destructive weather and the pandemic have inflicted loss, uncertainty and grief on our community, and all the while, scammers have been making things worse.

They’re a scourge that just won’t go away. Phone scammers have honed their craft over the past several months, taking advantage of the anxieties of the times to swindle victims out of billions of dollars.

In fact, 1 in 3 Americans reported falling victim to a phone scam in the first year of the pandemic, handing over an average of $502 each time to criminals—a total of $29.8 billion—according to a study by software company Truecaller. Some folks were defrauded more than once. Identity theft and fraud reports were up 45% in 2020, the Insurance Information Institute found.

We’ve seen it firsthand at Bandera Electric Cooperative. Our members have reported a rise in attempted phone scams by people claiming to represent the co-op. The fraudulent callers sometimes target Spanish-speaking and older people, threatening to disconnect the power unless the victim makes an immediate payment.
Please know that BEC will never call to demand an immediate payment, and we would never threaten to disconnect your power over the phone.

Impostor scammers like these prey on those most vulnerable in our community by exploiting their fears. Utility scammers try to create a sense of urgency so you’ll act fast and hand over personal information or money without thinking. Always take a moment to evaluate the situation before acting, and if possible, talk it over with a loved one.

A critical finding of the Truecaller study was that phone scam victims aren’t maybe who you’d expect. The majority were between the ages of 18 and 44.

We don’t want any of our members to fall victim to this practice, especially during the holiday season. If you receive a suspicious call or text message from someone claiming to represent the co-op, put down the phone and call BEC directly.

You and yours have been through enough in 2021. Don’t let a scammer ruin your holidays too.


Posted: 12/1/2021 3:23:00 PM
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