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2013-05-02 digital edition

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2013-05-02 / Front Page

Fraud Attempts on Bluebonnet Electric Customers

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, who serves Lee and surrounding counties, announced this week that they have been made aware that some people falsely claiming to be Bluebonnet employees or contractors have been attempting to trick co-op members into making payments on supposedly delinquent accounts.

The callers are telling the Bluebonnet customers that they need to make payment through third-party companies, such as PayPal, Radio Shack or Walgreens. The calls have shown on caller ID as out-of-state area codes and phone numbers.

At this time, the scam has targeted Spanish-speaking co-op members with residential and commercial accounts, primarily in Bastrop and the surrounding areas. Bluebonnet contacted local law enforcement after learning of the scam and is working with the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office, which is handling the case.

“We take very seriously any attempt to defraud our members,” said Mark Rose, Bluebonnet’s general manager. “We do all that we can to prevent it from happening and will assist law enforcement to catch and prosecute anyone who scams our members.”

Bluebonnet wants all its members to be aware of co-op procedures in order to protect themselves from fraud. Bluebonnet’s process for working with members with delinquent accounts is clear and consistent. They make at least two attempts to contact its members - by mail and by courtesy call - within two weeks of a delinquent payment’s due date, offering payment options using a debit or credit card.”

If a Bluebonnet member has not received a reminder in the mail or a courtesy call about their account, and someone claiming to be from Bluebonnet calls from an out-ofstate phone number, and tells them to pay their bill through a third-party company, do not pay.

Bluebonnet members contacted by someone claiming to be a Bluebonnet employee or contractor asking for their account information or for a payment on their account should not give them any information. Members can call Bluebonnet’s member services number, 800-842-7708, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, to verify they are talking to a Bluebonnet employee or to report any suspicious activity.

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