Co-op Warns of Strange CallsBy Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer Published: October 13th, 2011
Members of a Colorado co-op have been getting some unusual late-night calls from someone claiming to be an employee.
“It’s really bizarre. In fact, the members have noticed it’s bizarre and have shut the calls down before it’s gone any further,” said Dennis Svanes, chief financial officer at La Plata Electric Association.
One member’s phone rang at 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday night.
“It was a gentleman who represented himself to be an employee of the co-op, and said he was at the office working and noticed that her bill was going to be 10 percent higher than normal,” Svanes told ECT.coop. At that point, the woman told the man that the call didn’t seem right, and she hung up.
Another member, in a different part of Durango-based LPEA’s service territory, received a similar late-night call. But this member let it go on a little longer—until the point at which the caller asked if the man was in his underwear.
In both cases, the caller ID was blocked, which the co-op never does. And Svanes said the motivation for the calls is a mystery.
“We don’t know what the intent is—if it’s a person or persons out for kicks, or if they’re going to try to get financial information,” Svanes said.
So far, LPEA has heard from two members, but Svanes said that with 40,000 active accounts, it is likely that other members received similar calls, but just dismissed them as cranks.
“We always encourage our members to let us know about anything suspicious,” said Indiana Reed, LPEA public information officer. “When we hear about these types of incidents, we immediately try to alert the rest of our membership for their protection.”
Not only did the co-op get word out on local radio stations, on its website and through emails, it also used Twitter and Facebook. “This is an occasion when utilizing social media is very beneficial,” Reed said.