Phone scam claims LPEA delivering checks via UPS


By Indiana Reed

Special to The SUN

La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) is once again cautioning its members to not be fooled by any impersonator who is calling customers, claiming to be from UPS and in search of information to deliver a check from LPEA. LPEA’s customer service representatives were alerted today to this effort.

“LPEA does not send out checks via UPS. That was our first red flag,” said Steve Gregg, LPEA manager of operations. “The caller apparently indicates that the LPEA customer has a sum of money available to be returned, and then asks for additional information. Do not provide this caller with any additional information. Always call LPEA if you have any questions.”

If in doubt about a billing department phone call from LPEA or supposed authorized agent, members are asked to politely end the conversation and call the LPEA Customer Service Department, 247-5786, to clarify any billing questions. If the call is blatantly fraudulent, members should also call the local authorities.

In late 2013, local businesses were also the focus of a scam in which businesses in LPEA’s service territory received phone calls from individuals claiming to be LPEA employees and demanding immediate payment via a credit card or pre-paid debit card to avoid disconnection of electric service. LPEA hasn’t taken credit card payments over the phone since 2010, pursuant to national PCI regulations so, for secure payment via credit card, members must visit and click on the “SmartHub” link.

“Do not give out any information to an unsolicited phone caller,” said Dennis Svanes, LPEA CFO. “Our Customer Service Representatives will call you when payments are delinquent and there is a pending disconnect, but they will not take any personal identity information over the phone. LPEA is committed to protecting its members’ identity.”