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The Oregon Trail Electric Co-op is warning its member-owners to be on the alert for scam artists trying to trick them out of some money with threatening phone calls.

OTEC has received numerous reports from members in its four-county service area about receiving phone calls from someone pretending to represent the co-op and threatening to cut off service unless immediate payment is made.

These are scam calls, the Baker City-based electric cooperative said in a news release.

“OTEC does not demand immediate payments for past-due accounts, nor does it regularly disconnect power outside of regular business hours or on weekends,” the news release states. “OTEC member service representatives will call members with past-due accounts to give a final due date, schedule payment arrangements or to advise about payment issues.”

The co-op urges members who receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to represent OTEC to hang up if they feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information and call the co-op directly at 541-523-3616.

People shouldn’t give out credit card numbers or personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the internet unless they initiated the contact or are certain they know who they’re dealing with, the co-op said.

Finally, the co-op said, people should never allow anyone inside their home to check electrical wiring, natural gas lines or appliances unless they have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem, and they should always ask to see employee identification.

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