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Phone scammers target VEA customers

Valley Electric Association is warning residents of a scam targeting cooperative members.

VEA received reports from several members of the southwestern Nevada business community who received phone calls from individuals posing as VEA employees. These callers reportedly demanded immediate payment and threatened to turn off members’ power. Although the caller’s phone number appeared on caller IDs as VEA’s 1-800 number, co-op officials say these individuals are not associated in any way with VEA, which never calls its members to demand immediate payment.

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation. Members contacted by anyone demanding immediate payment for a utility bill should hang up and notify Deputy Corey Fowles of the Nye County Sheriff’s Office at 751-7000. They should reference the investigation case number 14NY-0295.

VEA also encourages members to call the cooperative’s main office at 727-5312 if they have been targeted by this scam.

Sheriff’s authorities say an unknown person, at an unknown location, called 11 local restaurants in Pahrump claiming to be an employee of Valley Electric. VEA confirmed these calls didn’t come from the cooperative and the businesses were current on their electric payments.

The scam occurred continuously over 24 hours beginning Sunday and has defrauded local businesses of at least $2,000 thus far, the sheriff’s department said.

“It is VEA’s highest priority to ensure our members are aware of these kinds of situations and to protect them from being victimized,” said Dan Tillman, VEA executive vice president of administration and finance. “We are working closely with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office to resolve this issue and we encourage our members to contact us if they have any questions or concerns.”

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