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Friday February 12th, 2016 12:37AM

Scammers use email to target utility customers

By Staff
JEFFERSON - Scammers are busy again in north Georgia, according to Jackson EMC and this time, they're trying to gain access to customer information via email.

"We've seen a wide variety of phone scams over the last few years that threaten disconnection of electric service if an alleged overdue balance isn't paid immediately with a prepaid credit card, including the most recent one targeting restaurant owners during their busiest serving periods. But this is the first scam reported by our customers involving email," said Jackson EMC Director of Customer Service Brent Cochran.

The scammer apparently emails a billing message from a company called PG&E Energy, a California electric and gas utility. The message contains a link to view an invoice. Customers clicking on the link find their computer is infected with malware that could access their banking information, usernames and passwords.

"We've had a few reports of customers receiving emails like this and we're concerned that it could spread. Customers should ignore suspicious emails from organizations they're unfamiliar with and simply delete those emails. Under no circumstances should they access the link provided in the email," said Cochran.

Cochran said only Jackson EMC customers who have signed up for paperless billing will receive an email from the cooperative notifying them that their bill is ready to view.

"Customers who are uncomfortable clicking on the link in that email can simply go to Jackson EMC's website and log on to their online account access to view their electric bill," he said.

Jackson EMC warns customers to ignore requests for personal information, either over the phone or by email, and any demand for immediate payment to avoid having their power disconnected. If they question a contact regarding their Jackson EMC account, they should contact the cooperative's Customer Service team at 1-800-462-3691.

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