Be Aware of Utility Related Fraud and Scams

There have been reports from utility customers of scams and attempted fraud in the Lower-48, recently, these scams have been targeting utility customers all over Alaska, including in Barrow.

Members report receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be with the utility cooperative or company and threaten the member with immediate disconnection of services if a payment isn’t made over the phone with a credit card.  In some cases, the individual demands payment by iTunes or Amazon gift card, having the member purchase the card and read the required information to them over the phone.

In other reported events, members are offered fraudulent utility bill payment assistance but are told in order to receive the benefits, it requires the member to provide bank account information and/or their social security number to the scammer over the phone or by email, in attempt to defraud the member or for identity theft.

Members who receive a phone call or email that threatens immediate disconnection unless a payment is provided over the phone or require the member to give sensitive information should not engage the scammer, even if the caller ID shows BUECI’s main office phone number as caller ID information can be faked.  During non-business hours, such as after 5:00 PM or on holidays and weekends, BUECI does not make courtesy calls for payment reminders or issue disconnect notices.

BUECI staff will never request credit card, bank account or personally identifying information, such as your social security number, over the phone, by e-mail, or by fax.  Members can make payments in person at our main office during normal business hours or online directly with BUECI via SmartHub at Http://bueci.smarthub.coop.

More information on our office hours and ways to pay your utility bill can be found here and information about financial assistance programs that you may qualify for can be found here.

If you receive a suspicious call, do not give the caller any account or personally identifying information, instead, hang up and contact BUECI Member Service & Billing directly at 907-852-6166, option 1.