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Customers report threats, requests for personal or account information to co-op

The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative issued a warning Tuesday about a new fraud scam that asks customers to provide credit card or bank account information in order to avoid having their electric service shut off.

Customers recently have notified the co-op that they have received fraudulent calls from people threatening to turn off their electricity, and the co-op has advised its members not to provide personal or electronic account information to any unauthorized callers.

“Bills are issued monthly. Overdue amounts are identified on a customer’s bill. If payments are late, SMECO sends a pink termination notice. We also have an automated calling system to notify customers if their payment is overdue,” SMECO spokesman Tom Dennison said in a news release. “If customers receive a phone call and they are unsure about whether or not it is legitimate, they should hang up and call SMECO directly. Our contact center is open 24 hours a day, every day. The phone number is 888-440-3311.”