Businesses around Kodiak have been getting calls from people claiming to be from the Kodiak Electric Association and:
“Informing them they’re going to be disconnected if they don’t pay their bill immediately.”
Dan Menth, who’s the manager of finance and administration at KEA, says this is a scam.
“They were requesting credit card payment over the phone, which, most of our members hopefully know we don’t do that.”
This isn’t the first time KEA has had to deal with this kind of fraud and it’s not the only electric company in the region dealing with this right now. Menth says he recently spoke to Homer Electric and they’re also dealing with scammers. Businesses are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of ploys because they make higher payments to utility companies than individuals, and scammers can time it so people feel like they have no choice but to pay a fake bill. Menth gives this example.
“If a business gets a phone call on a, say a Friday afternoon, they’re going to be more apt of saying, ‘Okay, I’ll make the payment. I don’t want to lose my business over the weekend if I was to be disconnected.’ So, there’s a little bit more of a fear factor and what not with the small businesses.”
Around 20 businesses in Kodiak have received fake KEA calls. He says KEA is calling businesses to inform them of the scam and to assure people KEA would never threaten to shut off anyone’s power out of the blue.
“KEA is not going to call somebody and say “we’re going to shut you off if you don’t pay right now.’ There’s going to be multiple phone calls or emails or whatever the consumer’s choice of communication would be, warning ‘hey you need to come in and make a payment. You’re behind.”
Menth says if anyone receives a suspicious phone call they should hang up and then call KEA member services right away.