March 27, 2013
Co-Mo Electric Cooperative is warning of a scam targeting its members.
The cooperative is pursuing legal action against a suspect who is calling former members regarding unclaimed capital credits, saying he is an employee or representative of Co-Mo and asking for members to send money to a relative of his as a finder’s fee.
Capital credits are what a member of an electric cooperative earns by being an owner. Any time the cooperative has margins left over at the end of the year, its board of directors can allocate that money to be returned to the membership at some point in the future after it has been used as an investment into the electrical system.
Credits occasionally go unclaimed when a member leaves the cooperative’s system and fails to provide a forwarding address or phone number.
Each year, the cooperative publishes a list of those unclaimed capital credits in Rural Missouri magazine, the Tipton Times and on its website, as required by its bylaws.
Ken Johnson, Co-Mo CEO and general manager, stressed that the company will never ask a member for money in return for unclaimed capital credits.
“It appears this individual is targeting former members who are owed the largest amount of unclaimed capital credits, and we will take whatever legal action we can to make sure this stops,” Johnson said.
Johnson urged members and former members to never send money in return for capital credits to anyone claiming to represent the cooperative.
“That’s not how we work,” he said. “In fact, if we did have a phone number for the former member, we wouldn’t have to put them on the unclaimed capital credits list because we could call them ourselves, get an updated address and send them what they are owed.”
Anyone who feels they may have been targeted by the scam is asked to call the Co-Mo customer service department at 800-781-0157.
“Because we will be pursuing legal action, we want to make sure we hear from anyone who was targeted so the authorities can understand the scope of this scam,” Johnson said.