Huntsville Utilities News
Scams Continue to Target Utility CustomersJune 13th, 2012
Scams Continue to Target Utility Customers
Huntsville Utilities states, according to the American Public Power Association (APPA), scams targeting utility customers continue being reported across the United States. These scams aim to steal payments and identity information using in-person solicitations, phone calls, social media, fliers, and text messages. Scam reports are widespread around the country including: California, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida.
Recently Huntsville Utilities has received calls from customers reporting they were contacted by someone claiming to represent the utility. The customers were told that their utility services would be disconnected by 5 PM if they did not supply the caller with their Social Security number, date of birth and a credit card number to which their bill could be charged. Huntsville Utilities DOES NOT call customers requesting this information.
Earlier this year, other local customers reported receiving calls from someone claiming to represent Huntsville Utilities and telling them, because of their good payment history, they were selected to win a new car and cash reward. All they had to do was provide credit card information to pay a delivery fee for the car. Huntsville Utilities has no such reward program.
According to the APPA, in the newest scam customers report being told that President Obama has approved special funding through the Federal Reserve Bank for utility bill assistance. However, there is no such funding. Scammers are asking customers for personal information, then providing victims with a fraudulent bank routing number with which to pay their utility bills. A utility provider in Gainesville, FL, reported over 40 customers used the fraudulent routing numbers to pay their utility bills. Memphis (TN) Light, Gas and Water reports nearly 1,000 customers fell victim to the scam.
Utility providers across the country are urging customers to remain vigilant. Customers should be suspicious of anyone asking for personal information that their utility provider should already have in their records.
Huntsville Utilities does not contact customers to request this information. Huntsville Utilities does not request credit card information over the phone. If a customer receives such a call, Huntsville Utilities requests that they gather as much information as possible from the caller and contact the utility immediately at 256-535-1200 so the scam can be investigated.
HU Public Relations Office