The board treasurer of an Iowa electric co-op recently received an email from the CEO asking for immediate help on a wire transfer. Signature details were the same as the CEO would normally use, with the exception that the phone number listed was really the co-op’s fax number.
“The treasurer was very alert and sent our CEO a text to confirm,” reports Patty Manuel, business development & communications director for Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative. “When our IT staff explored, they discovered a domain was established in Canada just before the email was sent. Instead of the email coming from our CEO @mvec.com, it arrived in a sneaky way as @rnvec.com. Small letters like rn, can appear as an m. I could see the same thing happening with e’s and c’s, etc.” The co-op believes the details were gleaned from their website.
Other co-ops nationwide continue to see fraud attempts, especially scammers who demand quick payment and threaten immediate disconnection of service. Click here to read about different scams.
Most co-ops are confronting scams by staying vigilant and reminding members that nonpayment shutoffs would have several written warnings and encouraging them to just hang up and call the co-op’s member services department.