In recognition of Utility Scam Awareness Day (Nov. 18), we would like to detail the various kinds of utility-related scams and, ultimately, how to pinpoint and avoid them. Our customers’ identification and financial security are of utmost importance and we take all precautions to keep this information safe.
Scammers work year-round to defraud our customers, and sometimes these con artists pose as our employees. You can identify scammers by the way they request access to your home/property, demand payment, including pre-paid debit cards, green dot cards and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
Types of Scams to Watch Out For
Scammers utilize several forms of communication to carry out their scams: Phone calls, text messages and apps, online solicitation and even on-site employee impersonation.
- Phone calls: If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be one of our employees and demanding payment… it’s a scam! We will never proactively call you to solicit credit card, banking or other financial information over the phone. Also, if you have a past due balance, please remember that we will post a physical past due notice before shutting off services.
- Text messages and apps: Scammers’ efforts truly know no bounds, as they now have infiltrated customers’ mobile devices via text messages and apps. Please be hyper-vigilant when making any form of payment on an app.
- Online solicitation: Our customers have reported incidents of “phishing,” or when someone sends you a fake (but authentic-looking) email in hopes of stealing your payment information. Please exercise caution with emails of this kind, appearing to be from our company or otherwise. Don’t click on any links in the email, download any attachments, reply to the email or provide any sensitive information.
- On-site employee impersonation: There have also been instances when ill-intentioned individuals dressed in what appears to be our company’s service uniform, visit to a customers’ business or home. These imposters will then say that they need to perform a home inspection, thieving valuables while the owner is distracted. If someone claims to work for our company, and requests entry to your home, ask to see their company identification card. Also, look to see if they arrived in a company vehicle.
Protect Yourself and Your Identity
While we often hire contractors for our energy-efficiency programs, they will never ask customers to leave their business for any reason. Further, if you haven’t called to request service, or weren’t expecting a visit from us, please call 1-800-411-7343. Stay safe wherever you communicate.
Utility Scam Awareness Day is part of Utilities United Against Scams’ (UUAS) Utility Scam Awareness Week (Nov. 16-20). To learn more, please visit utilitiesunited.org.