May 20, 2020
April 30, 2020
April 22, 2020
With spring upon us, work in the field continues to pick up. Our crews are out in force working our maintenance projects for this year to ensure uninterrupted power service to your home or business. To keep you and them safe, our crews continue to practice the recommended social distancing guidelines while completing these tasks.
April 15, 2020
The first round of Economic Impact Payments were deposited today and a “large majority” of Americans can expect their payment within the next two weeks the Treasury Department said. Track the status of your payment with the link below. Shop local and stay safe out there! #AloneTogether #LakesProud
April 6, 2020
April 6, 2020
Local Power Disconnection Scam
Amid this pandemic several of our members have reported receiving phone calls from scammers posing as Crow Wing Power. The callers insist they are delinquent on their bill and threatened immediate service disconnection if bank/card information was not provided directly over the phone. Crow Wing Power members who have delinquent accounts receive multiple notifications from us prior to service disconnection – never just a single notification by phone.
If you receive a call that you believe is a scam, hang up and call Crow Wing Power directly at 1-800-648-9401 or 829-2827.
If you are having difficulties with your account during this time, please call us, we want to assist you all we can.
Economic Impact Payment Scams
On March 27, President Trump signed a sweeping bill into law that grants American taxpayers much-needed financial relief during the coronavirus pandemic. Americans will get direct assistance in the form of a check or deposit from the U.S. Treasury.
These checks are still weeks away from clearing, but that hasn’t stopped scammers across the board from trying to trick you into forking over your private data and your economic impact payment. Here’s why you should think twice before opening any emails or texts about your incoming payment.
The scammers use realistic government formatting in their messages to gain trust from their victims. The criminals then ask for bank information, Paypal accounts or Social Security numbers so they can “deposit the check.” And notice the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is Economic Impact Payment.
But all this is nothing more than a scheme. If you respond or interact with one of these messages or websites, instead of receiving $1,200 from the U.S. government, you’ll have $1,200 stolen by a scammer.
The fake texts and message scams are primarily sent via email, text messages and Social Media alerts. It’s important to remember the U.S. government will never contact you through these channels. The government tends to prefer snail mail or emergency alerts
In the case of fake checks, keep in mind that the government hasn’t sent anything out as of yet. If you get a check that looks like your COVID-19 economic impact payment before at least mid-April, there’s no doubt it’s a phony.
Plus, under the current legislation, you might not even have to sign up to receive a stimulus check. The government is expected to use direct deposit information already on file with the IRS, and will mail checks to the addresses listed in 2018 or 2019 tax returns. Those taxpayers who have previously filed but not provided direct deposit information to the IRS will be able to provide their banking information online to a newly designed secure portal on IRS.gov in mid-April.
Regardless, you won’t be asked by the government to provide personal information like your Paypal account, much less your Social Security number, over an insecure form of communication like emails, social media or text messages.
For retirees who don’t have a requirement to file a tax return, no action on their part is needed to receive their economic impact payment – including recipients of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. No one from the government will contact them by phone, email, mail or in person asking for any kind of information to complete their economic impact payment. The government will automatically send these payments – no additional action or information is needed.
The IRS reminds taxpayers that scammers may:
- Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
For Business Owners
One victim received a package, allegedly from Best Buy, with a loyalty reward in the form of a $50 gift card. In the envelope was a USB drive claiming to contain a list of products eligible for purchase using the gift card.
The FBI warns that FIN7 has mailed these packages via USPS to numerous businesses (retail, restaurant, hotel industry) where they target employees in human resources, IT, or executive management departments. These packages sometimes include "gifts" like teddy bears or gift cards.
These USB drives are configured to emulate keystrokes that launch a PowerShell command to retrieve malware from server controlled by the attacker. Then, the USB device contacts domains or IP addresses in Russia.
The days when USB flash drives were just for storage are long gone. Several development boards are now available for programming to emulate keyboards and mice and launch a pre-configured set of keystrokes to drop malicious payloads. These are called HID or USB drive-by attacks are easy to pull and don't cost much.
Connecting unknown USB devices to a workstation is a well-known security risk but it is still disregarded by many users.
So remember to never connect unknown devices to a PC, Laptop or Tablet.
Reporting Coronavirus-Related or Other Phishing Attempts
Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to email@example.com.
Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.
March 30, 2020
COVID-19 May Influence Your Home Energy Usage
The kids are home all day - doing school online and, once the virtual school bell rings, off to TV or video games. Adults are working from home due to business need changes or you may have a college student who is living at home again and has to conduct online learning, too.
The daily activity in your once-quiet home is now changing due to recent world events. There are more people in the house which can create increased:
• Laundry (about $1.50 a load with hot water)
• Showers and water usage
• Gaming activities
• Plugged in electronics of all kinds (iPad, iPhone, laptops, monitors, etc.)
• Use of a space heater in a cooler part of the home (this can add another $1.44 per eight-hour day - or an extra $43 a month).
Keep in mind the electric bills you receive in March and April reflect usage during colder time periods. Your electric bill normally reflects usage from the past 30 days.
March 25, 2020
Today, Governor Walz directed Minnesotans to limit movement outside of their homes (beyond essential needs) from Friday, March 27 at 11:59 p.m. to Friday, April 10 at 5:00 p.m. Businesses deemed essential are allowed to stay open while practicing social distancing. Employees and customers are also allowed to travel to those businesses. The order is designed to slow the rate of COVID-19 infections.
What does critical/essential mean?
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development issued more clarification on what types of businesses must be closed as of Friday evening. Visit this newly created resource page to understand how they are defining “critical industries” and how you can request designation as an essential business.
What will happen with the businesses that are currently closed?
The actions today also extend current closures of dine-in restaurants and other “public accommodation” businesses until May 1st. Restaurants will still be allowed to offer take-out and delivery services.
Which businesses may be open?
Note: This is a partial list for public awareness. View full list here.
- Hospitals and clinics
- Food services, such as grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, bakeries, and take-out and delivery restaurants
- Convenience stores
- Liquor stores
- Child care facilities
- News organizations
- Gas stations
- Funeral homes
- Hardware stores
- Post offices
Which businesses must be closed?
Note: This is a partial list for public awareness. View full list here.
- Dine-in restaurants
- Bars and nightclubs
- Entertainment venues
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Bowling alleys
- Movie theaters
- Concert halls
- Country clubs
- Salons and barber shops
- Tattoo parlors
Which workers can keep working?
- Health care and public health workers
- Law enforcement, public safety and first responders, including corrections personnel
- Food service and agricultural workers
- Employees in the energy sector
- Water and wastewater employees as well as those in public works
- Communications and IT staff, including journalists
- Construction and critical trades workers, including electricians, plumbers and HVAC technicians
- Employees at animal shelters and veterinary clinics
- People in transportation and logistics, including workers in roadway construction or maintenance. Only automobile sales for essential travel are allowed and they have to be conducted by appointment and accommodate social distancing.
- Community-based government operations, including election support
- Critical manufacturing, including iron ore mining and processing
- Hazardous materials and chemical workers
- Financial services employees
- Tribal government employees deemed essential by the tribal government
- Essential employees in the state's judicial, executive and legislative branches
- National Guard members
- Faith leaders and workers needed to plan and distribute content to the community
- Education and child care workers
- Staff who support hotels, residential facilities and shelters
- Workers who support charitable and social services providers
- Some legal services
- Laundry services providers
March 23, 2020
With our Lobby Closed, we have revised, temporary Drive-up hours of M-F 8:30-5:00 and Sat. 8:30-noon.
The Scammers Are Back
Email: Scammers have started a spam campaign designed to play on people’s fears about the coronavirus. They are sending spoofed emails that are supposed to look like they come from officials with the World Health Organization.
The emails have a Word document attached that claims to be a list of precautions you should take to avoid being infected by the coronavirus; however, the Word doc is malicious and if you click on it your device could be infected with TrickBot malware.
Fake Charities: When a major health event like the coronavirus happens, you might be looking for information and ways to help. Scammers use the same events to take advantage of your generosity.
Some use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving. Money lost to bogus charities means fewer donations to help those in need.
Robocalls: Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam coronavirus treatments to work from home schemes.
The FTC wants to help everyone avoid falling victim to these heinous coronavirus scams. Here are some suggested tips to help:
- Hang up on robocalls – Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam coronavirus treatments to work from home schemes. It’s important to note that if you receive robocalls like these do not press any numbers on your phone. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from the call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
- Fact-check information – Scammers are sharing information that hasn’t been verified so before you pass along any info, contact trusted sources to verify it’s correct.
- Know who you’re buying from – Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products like disinfectants, household staples, health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.
- Don’t reply to emails and texts about checks from the government – Details about a potential stimulus package are still being worked out. If anyone tells you they can get you your money now, it’s a scam.
- Avoid clicking on links from unknown sources – Emails and texts related to coronavirus could be phishing scams that infect your device with malware.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from experts – If you get an email supposedly from the CDC or WHO with coronavirus information, there’s a chance it’s a phishing attack. For the most up-to-date information go directly to the CDC and WHO websites.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations – There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure COVID-19.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations – Whether you’re looking to donate through charities or crowdfunding sites, verify they are the real thing first. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone asks for donations in cash, by gift card or wiring money, don’t do it.
It’s critical that we all do our best to help each other through this frightening pandemic. Don’t let scammers ruin your spirit. Stay vigilant and we’ll make it through together.
March 20, 2020
In an effort to provide critical internet services for those who may have little or no access, CTC announced it’s opened several public Wi-Fi spots throughout the lakes area.
To find the nearest public Wi-Fi location, visit CTC’s Google map HERE >>
The map will be updated in real time as more locations are activated and added in the coming days. There will be no need to leave vehicles or enter any nearby buildings to access the Wi-Fi. Park in the area and search for a network named “CTC WiFi.” It will be free to use and will allow anyone to access high-speed, reliable internet from a safe location, a news release stated.
March 19, 2020
We’re all in this together, and to help each other out here’s some helpful shopping/dining information we’d like to pass along.
Call ahead to verify hours and types of service available at the business you want to patronize. Many area retailers are making adjustments for cleaning and distribution.
Many local businesses hardware/pharmacy/misc are offering curbside and/or delivery service, again give your local retailer a call and inquire.
With Restaurants/Bars closed to dinning in, many are offering take out. Give your favorite a call for more information. Or call and order a gift certificate for future use.
Grocery Delivery is available from Instacart.com for:
- Cub Foods
- Von Hanson’s
Special Shopping Hours for Elderly, Health Care Professionals, First Responders, High Risk Customers:
- Cub Foods: M-F 6-7 am
- Target: Each Wednesday, 7-8 am
- Walmart: For those 60+ each Tues, 1 hour before the store opens
If you have a neighbor who is elderly or at risk, perhaps give them a call and see if you can pick anything up for them.
Let’s all practice social distancing together and stay safe.
March 18, 2020
Beginning Thursday, March 19, Crow Wing Power, Crow Wing Power Credit Union and People’s Security Company lobbies will be closed to the public until further notice. This precautionary step is being taken to protect the health and well-being of our members and employees as part of our Coronavirus (COVID-19) preparedness plan. The plan is being enacted to help insure we have adequate staff to serve our members and keep our essential services intact and to comply with federal and state requests for social distancing.
Employees will still be working and available by phone. Crow Wing Power and the Credit Union employee regular hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. People’s Security employees are available 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Additionally, Crow Wing Power and the Credit Union’s drive through windows will continue to be open 8:30 a.m. to Noon on Saturdays.
We are encouraging members to pay bills online, pay by phone, mail, use our drop box or drive through window.
If you have any questions or concerns, call 218-829-2827 or 1-800-648-9401.
March 13, 2020
As an electric distribution cooperative, Crow Wing Power is depended upon to bring reliable electricity to 38,000 members and their families and businesses who rely on electricity for their daily lives.
Therefore in preparation for a potential Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in our region, we are updating our Emergency Restoration Plan to include detailed activities related to varying levels of risk associated with the latest COVID - 19.
Since 2004, Crow Wing Power has diligently practiced and implemented a nationwide practice of preparing for disasters or situations that could impact our ability to provide essential services.
Our current plan documented and practiced annually by key staff, addresses what we would do in case of fire/smoke, medical emergencies, severe weather, bomb threats, hostage/holdup/robbery/active shooter incidents, customer conflict, major power outages, HVAC failures, internal floods, chemical/biological threats, nuclear situations, facilities failures, pandemic influenza and now Coronavirus.
Minimally we’ve extended recommended practices to employees as outlined and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organizations on preventative measures employees can take.
Employees are being asked to follow hand washing and sanitizing methods. We are also asking employees to not shake hands to greet members/visitors to the office. If employees are sick, they are asked to stay home, so as not to spread any kind of illness.
Business travel is being limited and Webinar training will be the suggested norm for the time being.
Depending upon the level of threat to employees and members, various steps will be taken to insure we have a work force that can adequately serve our members, which may include key employees working remotely from home or at other locations.
As things progress, we will have updated actions and plans posted.