Scam Awareness

CORE wants you to be aware of a variety of scams that frequently target utility members.

If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of any call, email, or visit from someone claiming to be from CORE, especially one in which payment is requested, you should contact us directly at (800) 332-9540.

Being well-informed can help you detect suspicious behavior and ultimately help you to avoid a scam. Below are a few of the latest scams that could affect you. Call your local law enforcement if you suspect any of these:

This scam targets small commercial businesses and some residential members. The scheme works like this: Members receive a call, sometimes from an out-of-state area code, telling them their electric service is scheduled for immediate disconnection and they need to make a payment by purchasing a “Green Dot” Visa or other pre-paid card at a local convenience store. After the member purchases the card, they are told to call back and provide the card number. Once that information is obtained, the monetary value is withdrawn by those behind the scheme.

Legitimate CORE calls will not come from phone numbers with out-of-state area codes. CORE employees do not call members to demand immediate payment. Our disconnect notification calls are automated and instruct members to contact CORE directly to make payment.

In a variation of the phone scam, members are sent automated messages telling them to call CORE at a number that does not belong to CORE. When the member calls the number, they are instructed by a person acting as if they are a CORE employee to procure a pre-paid card for immediate payment. Use caution. When calling these numbers, there sometimes are elaborate voicemail systems that even sound like CORE’s automated answering system. When in doubt, call CORE directly at (800) 332-9540.

This scam features a phony nationwide program that promises to credit or pay utility bills in exchange for personal information, including Social Security numbers. The scam, which has been reported in a number of states, claims that the president is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. These scam messages are delivered through text message, social media, and email.

Another scam involves emails containing mock links to online bills and asks for additional information before collecting payment. If you receive your CORE bill notifications by email, compare your latest emails, verify the sending email address matches that of previous notifications, and beware of links that redirect you to other websites. Remember, you can safely view your bills online by logging directly into SmartHub via My Account or the app.

This scam involves someone showing up at a home pretending to be a CORE employee on a service call. CORE employees visiting a residence on a service call will always carry ID badges, wear uniforms identifying them clearly as CORE employees, and be driving our branded work trucks with the CORE logo. In the case of disconnect for nonpayment, CORE will notify members with a bill, then a written disconnect notice, and finally with an automated phone call prior to disconnecting service.

If you doubt the identification of the person at your door, do not allow them into your home or on your property. Contact CORE immediately at (800) 332-9540 to verify whether the person is a CORE employee on a legitimate service call. Always ask to see a valid ID. In most instances, scammers will quickly depart if you inform them you are calling to confirm their identity.

“Spoofing” is a favorite tactic among scammers, and even the most alert and savvy person can fall for it. In a “spoofing” scam, the caller identification info for an incoming phone call appears to come from a legitimate utility phone number. The scammer typically demands immediate payment under the threat of immediate disconnection.

Be immediately suspicious of any call you receive that appears to come from CORE and includes a demand for immediate payment. CORE does not call members to demand immediate payment. We send mailed or electronic notice prior to disconnection. Our subsequent disconnect notification calls are automated and do not require immediate payment. They instead direct members to contact us directly at (800) 332-9540.

Bottom line: If you are contacted by phone, email, or other communication by someone claiming to be from CORE and requesting your social security number, username, or password, or that you procure a pre-paid card to make immediate payment, do not respond in any manner. Call CORE directly at (800) 332-9540. If you suspect you potentially are a victim of a scam, also contact local law enforcement immediately.