Owen Electric Recognizes the Third Annual Utility Scam Awareness Day on November 14
Owen Electric, a member of the award-winning Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), is continuing its efforts to remind its members of the tactics scammers use to steal money from unsuspecting consumers and to educated them on how they can guard against falling victim to impostor utility scams.
UUAS, a consortium of more than 100 US and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas companies (and their respective trade associations), works to raise awareness of utility scams targeting households across North America. The third annual Utility Scam Awareness Day will be held Wednesday, November 14, and is supported by a week-long advocacy and awareness campaign focused on exposing the tactics of scammers.
“From time to time we’ll receive calls from our members who have been contacted by scammers over the phone. These scammers will threaten electric service cutoff if the member doesn’t give immediate payment—often scammers tell them they must go purchase a prepaid Visa or use a certain payment service,” said Whitney Duvall, manager of communications for Owen Electric. “It’s particularly difficult, because savvy scammers can even spoof, or reproduce, Owen Electric’s phone number to appear on caller ID. We always remind our members that we will never call and ask for immediate payment. If they detect something is out of the ordinary at all, they should hang up and call Owen Electric.”
UUAS’ Utility Scam Awareness Week campaign, highlighting “7 Scams in 7 Days,” will be held on from November 11-17, 2018; info graphics will be shared via Owen Electric’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages.
“Scammers are developing increasingly sophisticated schemes to scam our members, and there seems to be an uptick during the holiday season.” said Duvall. “Through the awareness campaign, UUAS will highlight the most common scam tactics and provide resources to help our members and consumers with other utilities better protect themselves from utility impostor scammers.
UUAS and its member utilities have helped shut down more than 2,200 Toll-Free Numbers used by scammers against utility consumers. The group was recently awarded the Toll-Free Industry’s Fraud Fighter Award in recognition of its advocacy and awareness campaign to stop scams that target electric, water and natural gas consumers.
Members of Owen Electric and customers of other utilities who suspect they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers should contact their utility company or local law enforcement. Also, never purchase a prepaid debit or gift card to avoid a service disruption or shutoff. Legitimate utility companies do not specify how their consumers should make a bill payment, and they always offer a variety of ways to pay a bill, including accepting payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail, or in person.
If someone calls, texts, appears, or emails saying you have to pay your bill immediately to avoid disconnection, tell them you would like to verify they are a legitimate representative of the company. Hang up, and call back, using the number found on your utility’s web site or on the bill. Members of Owen Electric should dial (800) 372-7612 option 4 for assistance with their account.