If you receive an unexpected call or knock on your door from someone who claims to be a Cobb EMC employee, beware. Scammers are increasingly targeting our members by phone, email or in person pretending to be Cobb EMC employees. These imposters tell you your power will be disconnected in 30 minutes unless you pay now, or they offer to sell you products and services to reduce your electricity bill.
Warning signs that it might be a scam
- You receive an unscheduled visit or unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be a Cobb EMC employee.
- Someone claiming to be a Cobb EMC employee threatens to cut off your electric service unless you pay immediately.
- You receive a demand for payment of your Cobb EMC bill via gift card, prepaid credit cards, wire currency or even cryptocurrency.
- You notice payments on your credit card or bank statement for accounts you did not open.
- You receive an email that you cannot confirm came from Cobb EMC.
- A caller claiming to be a Cobb EMC employee asks for bank account or credit card information.
- You receive an unsolicited utility equipment inspection, energy audit, solar panel installation, home security or any other salesperson at your home.
Resources and tips to protect yourself
While the techniques described above might seem official, we urge you to protect yourself by following the guidelines below.
- Members will receive a disconnect letter and alert online via our online account management system and app, prior to service disconnection.
- We use an automated system to allow members to make payments to their accounts.
- We submit aged delinquent balances on closed accounts to a collection agency, which contacts our members by letter and phone to collect payment on our behalf. Collection agency calls will come from TransWorld Inc. or TSI, Inc.
- All Cobb EMC employees and contractors carry photo identification badges, travel in company vehicles, and wear uniform shirts.
- Collect money in the field. Cobb EMC employees will never ask members to pay their bills anywhere other than at our office or through one of our payment options.
- Instruct you to call a phone number that is not ours, 770-429-2100, or our automated phone system, 1-855-730-8714. You can always find our phone number on our website or on your Cobb EMC bill.
- Ask you to pay with a prepaid card or cash anywhere other than at our office.
- Make automated calls to collect payments.
- Sell products, services or rooftop solar in your neighborhood.
- Collect money for trimming trees, or ask contractors to collect money for trimming trees on our behalf.
If you believe that you have been contacted by a criminal impersonating a Cobb EMC representative and threatening to disconnect your power, follow the tips below.
- Verify the person’s identity. Cobb EMC employees will have billing history information such as the amount of your last payment. If they don’t have that information, do not make payments or give out any personal information.
- Protect your personal information. Hang up the phone, close the door and carefully check emails before clicking on any links that may be bogus. Do not share any financial or personal information such as bank, credit card, social security, address or date of birth. Delete all suspicious emails that require immediate action to verify or demand personal information.
- Pay Cobb EMC directly. We will gladly accept payment from any member at any time, but we advise that you initiate the payment method. Valid payments may be made via mail, at our office during business hours, anytime using our app, online or through our automated system by calling 770-429-2100.
- Don't provide personal or financial information. Do not give the caller or visitor a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card, a wire transfer, or any other form of payment that may be difficult for law enforcement officials to trace.
- Don't let someone you don't know into your home. Do not let someone claiming to be a Cobb EMC employee into your home unless you have reported a problem or scheduled an appointment. Check their identification if you do.
- Beware of phishing emails and texts. Do not click links in text messages or emails unless you are sure it came from Cobb EMC.
- Keep us informed. Ask for the person’s name and as much additional information as possible, note their phone number from caller ID, and simply call our office at 770-429-2100 to report scammers to Cobb EMC.
- Report fraud. Contact your local police through the non-emergency telephone number, your state attorney general’s office through its toll-free number, and/or contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
RED FLAGS TO WATCH FOR:
- Offers of free or zero-down solar panels: Be extra careful when reviewing offers that may sound too good to be true.
- Guarantees of no more electric bills: Even with rooftop solar, you will still rely on Cobb EMC for some of your power, including at night, when the solar panels are not actively producing energy.
- Guarantees of big federal or state tax credits without knowing your tax situation. Always consult your tax advisor.
- Sense of urgency to have you sign a contract: Take your time when making a long-term financial decision.
BEST PRACTICES WHEN CONSIDERING SOLAR:
- Don't give in to pushy sales tactics: Before you invest in a solar energy system, there are several things to consider to ensure you’re making an informed decision. Follow our checklist and complete our Rooftop Solar Assessment to help decide if solar panels are a fit for your home.
- Get three quotes from different contractors: As you research solar installers, read customer reviews to make sure you are selecting a reputable contractor. You may also find a list of Cobb EMC approved and vetted local solar contractors on our website.
- Contact Cobb EMC's energy advisors: If you have questions about solar or want to learn more, we're here to help. Call 770-429-2125 to speak to one of our energy advisors or send your questions regarding solar via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.