The proactive actions of Brighton Walgreens employees prevented a United Power member from becoming the victim of an attempted utility scam—saving the customer hundreds of dollars. United Power teamed up with the Brighton Police Department Friday afternoon to present Scam Stopper awards to the attentive store employees.
“We commend Walgreens and your employees for looking out for your customers, and stopping this scam attempt,” said Troy Whitmore, United Power Public Affairs Officer. “Unfortunately, this type of scam happens more frequently than we’d like, and not all of our members are this lucky. Proactive efforts by local businesses like Walgreens are one of our best defenses against these scams.”
This phone scam attempt surfaces regularly in the United Power territory. A member is contacted over the phone by a utility imposter who instructs the member to purchase a pre-paid debit card to pay an overdue electric bill. The caller threatens disconnection of electric service if they don’t pay immediately. One lucky member who came close to becoming a victim received a similar call Friday morning. After receiving demands to pay right away, the member visited the Brighton Walgreens to deposit $400 onto a pre-paid debit card.
Walgreens employee, Kathy Olson, was running the register Friday morning and felt uneasy about the transaction after the customer mentioned she was instructed to load the pre-paid card. She consulted with the store’s assistant manager, Jessie Porter, and they advised the member of this type of scam. They encouraged the customer to verify with United Power before giving anyone money over the phone, and the member went straight to United Power’s office.
United Power warns members to be alert to this type of fraudulent activity, and to stay informed of their account status. United Power reminds members that the cooperative will never call in person to collect payment, will never demand pre-paid debit cards as payment for overdue electric bills, and will never visit a member in person to collect money. If ever in doubt, call United Power at the phone number printed on your statement, or log-in to your account online through the SmartHub Billing & Payment portal.
Brighton Police Department encourages residents to always report suspicious activity. Even if you don’t become a victim of a scam, your information helps law enforcement in their efforts to stop the perpetrators of these sophisticated scams.