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June 2024 CEO Message

Unmasking Energy Scams

Consumers with water, gas and electricity connections have long been targets for utility scams. But in today’s digital world, every swipe and click increases the risk of potential scams.

Scammers are more sophisticated than ever before, and they understand our increasing reliance on technology. With their sharpened digital knives, scammers have adapted their tactics to trick unsuspecting consumers through a variety of methods.

Orange County REMC wants to help you avoid energy scams, whether a financial loss or leak of your personal information. This month, I’d like to share updates on some of the latest utility scams, as well as tips to help you stay safe from even the craftiest scammers.

Recent Utility Scams

Scammers typically disguise themselves––either physically or digitally––as utility employees or representatives to steal consumers’ money or personal information. A common trick is to claim a consumer’s bill is past due and threaten to disconnect service if payment isn’t received immediately. Scammers approach consumers through a variety of means, including phone calls, text messages, emails and even in-person visits. However, the digital line of attack is increasingly more common.  

For example, new capabilities disguising caller ID or “spoofing” can make the phone number you see on caller ID appear to be from a trusted source. Spoofing makes it easier for scammers to deceive you because it’s more difficult to immediately verify the call. Another recent scam uses fraudulent websites that are identical to a utility payment webpage––and what’s worse, these pages are often promoted on search engines to trick consumers into clicking and making a payment.

Another recent scam involves phone calls, text messages or emails claiming you overpaid your electric bill and will receive a cash or banking refund. This offer may seem too good to be true, and it is––it’s likely a scam aimed to steal your personal information.

Spotting a Scam

There are several red flags you can watch for to identify an energy scam. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to create a sense of urgency, like claiming your electricity or other services will be disconnected if a payment isn’t made immediately.

Additionally, scammers may ask for unusual payment methods such as gift cards or cryptocurrency. If someone is pushing for an unusual payment method, it’s likely a scam.

You’ve probably noticed that many digital scams, like emails or text messages, include poor grammar, spelling errors and odd email addresses. These are red flags, so when you see these dodgy forms of communication, consider it a potential scam.

What Orange County REMC Will (and Won’t) Do

Orange County REMC will never demand an instant, immediate payment and threaten to disconnect your service without prior notices or warnings. We strive to resolve challenging situations and work with our members to avoid disconnects. 

Orange County REMC will never ask for your Social Security number or banking details over the phone or through email. We offer several secure payment options, including in-person, on our website, at, or through our SmartHub App.

Avoiding Scams

Whether in-person, over the phone or online, always be suspicious of an unknown individual claiming to be an REMC employee requesting banking or other personal information. We will only send you text messages if you have opted in for important alerts like outage alerts.

If you’re ever in doubt about a potential energy scam, just give us a quick call at (812) 865-2229 so we can assist. Your REMC wants to help protect you and our community against utility frauds, and by notifying us about potential scams, you can create the first line of defense. We encourage you to report any potential scams so we can spread the word and prevent others in our community from falling victim.


Matt Deaton

General Manager/CEO

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Cybercriminals are growing bolder, targeting critical infrastructure like utilities. Baazov hacking story exposed weaknesses, with hackers gaining access through weak passwords or installing malware on water system computers. Phishing remains the most common cybercrime, with scammers posing as utility companies to steal personal information or trick people into making unnecessary payments.

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