June 19, 2023
Washington Electric Cooperative, Inc.
PO Box 8
40 Church Street
East Montpelier, VT 05651
East Montpelier, Vt – At least one member of Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC) has received telephone calls from someone fraudulently representing themselves as a representative of an unnamed utility. The caller claimed the member had overpaid on their utility bill, and that they could receive that credit by providing their checking account information. If you receive any call that you are suspicious of or believe is a scam, here are some tips:
- Do not provide personal or financial information if you have any doubts about the identity of the caller.
- Do not engage—you can always just hang up.
- Do not call the scammer back, but instead call the entity they are claiming to represent on a telephone number you know is the correct one.
- Contact WEC directly to report the scam, as well as the phone number and any other information about the call you have, or call the Vermont Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit.
If a member overpays on their bill, the excess amount is simply applied to their next bill. WEC does provide refunds to active, current members in the form of capital credits. Capital credits are any excess funds after all operating expenses have been paid each year, and the Co-op is obligated to return these to you, the member-owners. Capital credits are applied to members’ November bills. We do not directly deposit funds into members’ bank accounts.
If we call you and you have any questions on the legitimacy of the call, hang up and call WEC back at the main office number at 802-223-5245 or toll free: 1-800-932-5245. That way, you are calling WEC and can be assured you are not the victim of a scam. Phone calls after 4 p.m. go to our answering service, so we recommend that you call as soon as possible after 7:30 a.m. the following morning if you have reason to believe that your power is at risk of being disconnected. Also, please be aware that disconnections only occur between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Don’t fall for high-pressure tactics, including threats that you’re about to be disconnected for not paying your bill. Most importantly, don’t get taken in – don’t provide any cash, credit card, debit card or bank account numbers to anyone over the phone unless you are certain of the caller’s authenticity.