New Information (Dec 2, 2019): Customers of Decatur Utilities report scam calls from someone claiming to be with Tennessee Valley Authority and threatening disconnection of service unless the customer pays. This is a scam. If you receive such a call, hang up and contact us immediately.
New information as of Dec 2, 2019: Over the weekend, we received reports of a new call back number being used by scammers: 800-298-4552. If you receive a call telling you to call this number with payment information, it’s a scam.
Scams targeting utility customers are a constant problem nationwide. It’s estimated millions of dollars are lost each year to thieves pretending to be utility company representatives.
As a utility company, we are limited in what we can do to fight scammers. Our most effective tool is to monitor scam activity and alert you to new tactics being used to try and steal your money.
When we learn of a new scam tactic, we will send out an alert over our social media pages and list it here.
Here are the scam tactics we are currently aware of:
1. Disconnection Deception: This is the most common scam tactic we see in our service area. In this scam, you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Huntsville Utilities. They inform you your service is about to be cut off due to non-payment and that the only way to prevent this is to purchase pre-paid debit cards, call them back at a specific number, and give them the card information.
It’s important to note the caller ID may read “Huntsville Utilities.” This is because some scammers are able to “spoof” a caller ID to make it read what they want.
We have also had reports of scammers requesting you pay them via the Cash app. Huntsville Utilities does not accept payments via this app and anyone who asks you to use it to pay your utility bill is trying to steal your money. We have informed the developers of the Cash app and they are working to keep scams using their app from happening.
There have also been reports of scammers asking customers to withdraw cash and meet them in order to make the payment. DO NOT DO THIS! Not only is it a scam, it’s very dangerous.
If you ever receive a call telling you your service is moments away from being cut off unless you pay, JUST HANG UP and call us at 256-535-1200. You can also call this number to confirm the status of your account.
As previously mentioned, scammers using this tactic ask the customer to call them back at a specific number. We track these numbers and post them here. If you are ever asked to call one of these numbers to make a payment, DON’T DO IT! These numbers are used by scammers. If you become aware of a new number, please inform us so we can look into it (contact information is at the bottom of this page).
2. Equipment or Repair Fee Scam: In this scam, the caller states you owe a fee for a new piece of utility-related equipment or to upgrade your current equipment. However, Huntsville Utilities DOES NOT charge additional fees to install/upgrade equipment currently connected to your home or business. We have received a small number of reports from people who say they received this type of call regarding the new AMI metering technology we are installing. If you receive such a call requesting payment, IT’S A SCAM! JUST HANG UP!
3. Overpayment Scam: In this scam, the caller claims you overpaid on your Huntsville Utilities account and they need your banking information to send a refund. This is nothing more than an attempt to steal your personal financial information. If you receive a call like this, IT’S A SCAM! JUST HANG UP!
If you do make an over-payment on your Huntsville Utilities account, that money will automatically be credited to your next bill.
4. Restoration Fee Scam: After severe weather that leads to a power outage, scammers will sometimes call customers and tell them their service will be restored first if they agree to pay a Restoration Fee.
NO UTILITY IN THE COUNTRY HAS THIS TYPE OF POLICY!
In the event of a power outage, we have a set restoration process we follow to get power back on. Anyone who tells you paying them will get your power back on sooner is lying in an attempt to steal your money. JUST HANG UP!
5. SMS Phishing Scam: As technology changes, scammers adopt new tactics. One of those is using text messaging in the scam tactics listed above. Instead of a phone call, you get a text requesting personal financial or other information. If you receive such a text message, delete it from your phone immediately.
Sadly, these are just some of the scam tactics being used. There are many more. This video, produced by the Huntsville Utilities Community Relations Department, explains additional scams and what you can do to protect yourself:
If you think you’re on the phone with a scammer, hang up immediately and call us at 256-535-1200. And if you think your personal information has been compromised, contact your bank or other financial institution immediately.
Also, please understand that if you have been the victim of a scam, we are limited in what we can do. We cannot refund your money or give you a credit. Your best course of action is to contact local law enforcement.
If you have any questions or wish to report a new possible scam tactic, email us at PR@hsvutil.org.
Huntsville Utilities es un proveedor de servicios residenciales publicos (electricidad, gas y agua) que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades. Nosotros no discriminamos en los terminos, las condiciones, o las provisiones de nuestros servicios basados en la raza, religion, color, sexo, discapacidad, estado familiar u origen nacional.