BEWARE OF PHONE SCAM TARGETING UTILITY CUSTOMERS
Pacific Power and other utility companies are warning customers and the public of a phone scam targeting utility customers in the Northwest where criminals posing as utility customer service agents are trying to get money and steal personal information. The fraud is occurring nationwide, but recent days have seen an upsurge in the Northwest. The thieves are using sophisticated deceptive tactics that make it appear to Caller ID systems that the scam call is coming from the utility when it is not. If customers receive such a call, hang up and instead call 1-888-221-7070 to verify the call's origins.
Pacific Power call center agents can be reached any time day or night, toll free at 1-888-221-7070. That is the only number to call for any customer service you need or if you suspect a call may not actually be from Pacific Power.
"So far, this has affected a relatively small number of customers, but any customer being taken advantage of in this way is one too many," said Blaine Andreasen, vice president of customer service. "
In order to help customers recognize the fraudulent calls, in general, the scam goes like this:
Scammers call residential or business customers demanding payment for overdue bills. Sometimes, the caller tells the intended victim that they owe a specific amount of money. The thief advises the customer to make a payment in one of two ways: either immediately on the phone via credit card, or by going to a local store to purchase a pre-paid card and calling back a special toll-free number, made to resemble Pacific Power's phone response system, and provide the pre-paid card's code to the phony "agent."
Pacific Power wants customers to be aware that this is a scam and not a legitimate request. Pacific Power does not use these methods. If such a call is received, hang up and call 1-888-221-7070 to inquire about the call with Pacific Power.
Pacific Power cautions that customers should never provide unsolicited callers or visitors with credit card numbers or any other information that may compromise their financial security.
Anyone receiving such calls or other contact regarding their utility account or bill is encouraged to pay close attention to any information - such as the phone number they are asked to call, a number that appears on caller ID, an address where they're told to send money- and then call 1-888-221-7070 to report the incident to local police and Pacific Power.