Benton REA is warning its members and residents of the Tri-Cities to be aware of door-to-door scammers attempting to collect payment on Benton REA electric bills.
The electric co-operative received reports that the scammers were asking residents who wanted to pay by check to leave the “pay to” area of the check blank.
Benton REA said its offices in West Richland and Prosser are open five days a week where payments can be made in person with the help of a Benton REA member services representative.
Scammers are known to use many different tactics and are developing new schemes to trick utility customers into giving them money.
If customers are ever suspicious of a phone call or a visit to their home from someone claiming to represent Benton REA, immediately call Benton REA at 509-786-2913.
Benton REA warns members to never give your financial information to anyone they do not know.
The utility offers some other tips on how to avoid scams:
- Do not assume the name and number on your caller ID or the person knocking on your door is legitimate. Scammers may use software that allows them to display what appears to be an official number on caller IDs.
- Never write a blank check or leave the “pay to” area of the check blank.
- Never share your personal information, including date of birth, Social Security number or banking account information.
- Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
- Do not click links or call numbers in unexpected emails or texts – especially those asking for your account information.
- Benton REA will never require its members to buy prepaid debit cards or money orders to avoid an immediate disconnection of electric services.
- If customers receive a call or visit from someone that sounds like they may be scamming you, call the police and report the incident and also notify the utility.