Are You Dangerously Polite?

Posted: April 14, 2020 at 4:05 pm

hacker man typing on laptop, hacking computer systemIt seems that every time we make a transaction – someone or something wants a “piece” of our lives in exchange. While the ability to ask our cell phones for driving directions and searching the internet for answers is great, we often forget that these devices are collecting our personal information.

Your email, internet, cell phone, texts, smart device, fax, and social media – are all collecting and/or transferring your data. A simple trip to the grocery to buy food has turned into a multi-faceted exchange of information: the bank now knows where you shop and how much you have spent, the grocer has just recorded your debit card number and knows exactly what food you like to eat – even printing a coupon for your next visit, and, on the way to the store, you have been photographed several times.

We have become so accustomed to this seizure of our information that we feel it is impolite to question anyone about “why” they need to know our personal data, likes and dislikes.

And that is exactly what a thief is counting on – your politeness.

Utilities across the nation, including electric cooperatives, are seeing an upswing in information scams aimed at identity theft. Insistent callers posing as electric utility employees are using various tactics to obtain personal financial information and credit card account numbers from consumers.

Several electric cooperatives have reported that their consumers have been threatened with disconnection if Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other personal information was not provided to the caller.

Protect yourself against these scams. Ohop Mutual Light Company will not contact you by telephone or email for personal information. Any request for personal information will be in writing from us on Cooperative letterhead asking you to call, email or write us using the contact information provided in the letter.

Ohop Mutual has an Identity Theft Prevention Program in place to safeguard the personal information our consumers have with us. Our program, which complies with Federal Trade Commission regulations, requires identifying information when a consumer calls our office.

Again, Ohop Mutual will not ask for personal information when we call you. Always use caution when someone asks for your data. Even in the quiet rural countryside an information thief can lurk in the dark.