Castle Rock woman warns of scam involving people posing as electric company workers

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- A local woman is warning others about scammers who are going door to door and posing as employees of an electric company.

At 3:30 p.m. on July 16, Laura Marlowe got a knock at the door from a man claiming to be with her electric company, Intermountain Rural Electric Association. Marlowe lives in the Plainsong area of the Meadows neighborhood in Castle Rock.

“He had his clipboard and IREA was the biggest thing on that clipboard that jumped out,” Marlowe said.

The man said IREA needs to meet 20 percent of their renewable energy quota mandated by the federal government. He said if they don’t meet the quota, the company will be fined and that means customers' rates would rise.

“If they get fined, the fines would be passed to us,” Marlowe said.

Marlowe and her husband were already considering the switch to solar energy and this just added another reason. She took down his information and said she’d think about it. But she said the man returned just a few hours later. This time, he brought his boss with him.

“I thought, 'That’s just a little aggressive. This is sort of suffocating,'" Marlowe said.

Marlowe felt something was off and explained that she was not interested.

The Problem Solvers looked up the website the man gave her and found out it doesn’t exist. We also called the phone number provided to Marlowe. A man answered but when we said we were “FOX31,” the man hung up.

“It angers me that people would take advantage of others,” Marlowe said.

The Problem Solvers reached out to IREA, who said in part, “we do not have agreements of any type with solar providers” and “if it was one of our service people, he would have an identifying badge and vehicle and still would not require access to the inside of her home.”

Marlowe wants others to be cautious, especially if they feel pressured to make a decision.

“Sadly, you never know people’s motives, so I think that would be the lesson,” Marlowe said.

When in doubt, IREA encourages customers to call them directly at (303) 688-3100 or visit their website at www.IREA.coop.

Full Statement from IREA:

On July 18, 2019, IREA received a phone call from a customer who said that someone was at her door, claiming to represent IREA, and wanted to enter her home to discuss renewable energy with her.  She said this individual was a male carrying a clipboard with a laminated piece of paper that had an IREA logo on it, but had no identification or other proof that he worked for IREA.  She said he was persistent and that she felt pressured by him to let him come inside.  The customer wisely refused to allow him in and instead immediately called us to verify the validity of his story.  She was informed that IREA does not send people door-to-door to “talk about renewable energy” and if it was one of our service people, he would have identifying badge and vehicle and still would not require access to the inside of her home.  She told our representative she planned to call the police to report the individual.  IREA posted a “Scam Alert” on Twitter and Facebook the same day to caution customers about this incident.

It is unclear whether this person was attempting to commit a scam, attempting to sell a renewable energy product or attempting to get in the home for other reasons.  In any event, falsely claiming they represent IREA is dishonest and reason for anyone to be cautious.  We appreciate this customer was informed enough to call us to verify whether or not what this person on her doorstep was saying was legitimate.  When in doubt, customers should always call IREA at (303) 688-3100.

Unfortunately, scams involving utilities are nothing new.  IREA has a page on our website dedicated to educating our customers about some of the scams that have been attempted on utility customers throughout the country.  More information can be found at www/IREA.coop/scams/.   

We have also received reports of individuals representing rooftop solar installers making false claims to IREA customers in an attempt to sell their products.  The false claims have ranged from statements that they have an agreement with IREA, they represent IREA, they are a “preferred vendor” of IREA, the customer is mandated to invest in renewable energy, etc.  These statements are false and misleading to potential rooftop solar customers.  We do not have agreements of any type with any solar providers granting either exclusive or non-exclusive business within our service territory, nor have we authorized any solar contractors to speak on our behalf.

Again, when in doubt, we encourage IREA customers to call us at (303) 688-3100 or visit our website at www.IREA.coop for more information.

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