DEMCO issues warning about phone scam

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - DEMCO issued a news release Wednesday night to warn Co-op members and area residents about a utility scam currently taking place in the area.

David Latona, DEMCO manager of member and public relations, said several members have contacted the company with concerns about a phone call they had received from a man claiming to represent DEMCO.

He reportedly told the members he/she had a discrepancy in their most recent payment on their electric bill and threatened to disconnect the member's electric service if they did not make a payment immediately.

Latona said this is a scam and not a true representative of DEMCO. He added all accounts of this scam involved calls placed to small businesses and after further investigation, DEMCO representatives discovered similar scams being attempted in other utilities around the country.

Latona stated the scammers routinely convince people to make payments using bank account information, a credit or debit card, or a pre-loaded money card and many times, these payments are for hundreds of dollars each. The payer thinks he has made a payment to his electric account and does not realize he has been taken advantage of until receiving his next electric bill.

"Please be aware of this scam, and help us spread the word to your friends and neighbors," said John Vranic, CEO and general manager of DEMCO.

Vranic emphasized DEMCO does not make calls to members asking for immediate payment. He suggests if you are suspicious about a call from DEMCO, hang up and call the utility company at 1-800-262-0221 or 225-261-1221.

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