Make a New Year’s Resolution to Spot Scammers
Each year, scammers target electric utilities relentlessly, leaving customers vulnerable to threats. These scammers usually attempt to demand financial and personal information in addition to threatening customers with a shutoff of service.
This isn’t how utilities in our region do business.
Here are a few tips to help you spot a potential scam and learn what you can do to make sure you and your family don’t fall victim to these schemes.
- pose as utility employees and contact utility customers mainly by phone.
- threaten to shut off power if payments are not immediately made.
- pressure customers to obtain pre-paid credit cards to make immediate payments.
- target businesses, non-English speaking and elderly customers.
- use phone numbers closely resembling the number of your utility.
Remember, your local utility will never call, e-mail, or visit their customers’ home demanding immediate payment to avoid shutoffs. If someone calls you demanding payment, rather than seeking to work with you to establish a payment arrangement, that person is a scammer. Hang up on them right away and call your utility’s customer service.
If someone claiming to be from a utility like Seattle City Light approaches you at home, is not wearing visible identification and cannot provide you with employee identification, and asks for personal or financial information or asks to enter your home, immediately shut your door, secure your home, and call 911.
The Customer Care Center for Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Call 206-684-3000 for customer service.
Contributor Robert Cromwell directs Customer Operations at Seattle City Light. To learn more about how you can end scams, visit Seattle.gov/light/EndScams.
This article originally appeared in the January 2021 issue of AgeWise King County.