WENATCHEE, WA – Chelan County PUD joins 100 US and Canadian utilities to observe the second annual Utilities United Against Scams Day (UUASD) on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, to raise awareness about utility scams.
Most utility scams involve criminals posing as electric, gas or water provider employees—either in person or over the phone or internet—and demanding immediate payment via cash or reloadable debit cards, supposedly to prevent service disconnection.
These unscrupulous criminals can be very convincing, and often target those who are most vulnerable, including the elderly and non-native English speakers. However, with the right information, customers can learn to avoid and report these predatory scams.
“Scammers just never stop,” said Megan McCarty, from Chelan PUD Customer Relations. “But by being able to recognize a few warning signs, our customers can avoid becoming victims. We want to make sure they have that information.”
Customers who believe they have been targeted by utility scammers should follow these tips:
- Hang up the phone or close the door, and call Chelan PUD’s direct phone number, (509) 663-8121.
- Do not give the caller or visitor cash, a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card, a wire transfer, or any other form of payment that may be difficult to trace.
- Ignore suspicious requests for personal information such as bank account numbers, user names and passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers.
- Delete any emails from utilities that are not your service provider.
- Delete all suspicious emails that require immediate action to verify or demand personal information.
- Contact your local police through the non-emergency telephone number, or the state attorney general’s office, or contact the FTC: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.
- Learn more about Chelan PUD anti-scam efforts at www.chelanpud.org/scams.
When scam calls are reported to Chelan PUD, the utility shares that information right away, in English and Spanish, on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and the utility’s website, www.chelanpud.org.
UUASD is a collaborative effort among the electric, gas, and water utility industries throughout the country, to help prevent utility service fraud through education, awareness, and customer advocacy initiatives. A primary goal of this collective effort is to help customers learn how to identify and avoid utility-related scams.
(By Christy Shearer, Chelan County PUD)