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Officials warn of scam involving Jefferson Energy

Reports of a scam arose Tuesday in the local area and officials are urging citizens to be cognizant. Jefferson Energy Cooperative Marketing Representative Steve Chalker said a customer called the company to check the validity of two individuals who were going door-to-door in her neighborhood claiming to be Jefferson Energy employees and collecting bill payments.

"We want to put it out that we don't collect door to door and all vehicles of our employees are clearly marked and they all wear uniforms that are clearly marked with Jefferson Energy," Mr. Chalker said. "So, I am advising people (that) they need to be careful."

Mr. Chalker did not know the exact location of the incident, but he said it was somewhere along Gordon Highway.

McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Maj. Ronnie Williamson said there have been no reports of specific incidents in McDuffie County, but he has been notified of similar scams taking place with other utility bills. Maj. Williamson said the information he has received reports that scam artists go to mailboxes when utility bills are coming out and steal the bill from mailboxes. After the "due by" date has passed, the individual then returns to the residence and informs the homeowner their bill is past due and they are there to collect the payment.

"My take on it is try to be aware of when the utility bills come," Maj. Williamson said. "And if it's not delivered in that time frame, then call the utility company. Because what they are doing, it makes a lot of sense. They've got your name, address, the amounts due and the past due date. So you would reasonably think they might be from the company."

Maj. Williamson also emphasized that utility companies no longer collect payments door to door, and the employees are always uniformed and in a clearly marked vehicle. He cautioned residents to never give money or any banking or credit card information to any such person, whether it be via telephone or in person at the door.

Mr. Chalker said if anyone is approached by a suspicious person claiming to be a Jefferson Energy representative, they should call the customer service line at 706-597-2167.

Web posted on Thursday, July 10, 2008

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