FRANKFORT – Attorney General Andy Beshear issued a Scam Alert to warn Kentuckians of reports of suspicious calls being made to utility customers in southeastern Kentucky on Tuesday.
Kentuckians in Harlan, London and Pineville reported receiving a call from someone claiming to be a utility company employee who asks for a utility bill payment over the phone. If the customer refuses to pay immediately, the scammer threatens to shut off the customer’s electricity.
“One of our top priorities is to help protect Kentuckians, especially senior citizens, from scams by warning them of the latest scams and providing tips on how to identify each scam,” Beshear said. “The best way to avoid this utility scam is to contact the utility company directly and verify any billing questions.”
Beshear said utility companies work to educate and warn customers of these types of scams and offered these tips to help others avoid the scam:
– Do not provide your personal information. Utility companies will never call and ask for credit or debit card numbers or other personal information.
– Contact your utility company. Customers who receive a suspicious solicitor at their home or a phone call, email or letter should contact their utility provider to verify. Do not rely on information or a phone number provided by the suspected scammer.
– Ask about bill payment options. Ask your utility company to explain the variety of official and secure ways to pay your bill.
– Sign up for billing notifications. Check with your utility provider to determine what types of billing notifications are available.
To report possible scam activity contact the Attorney General’s Office at 888-432-9257, or file a consumer complaint online.
Beshear issued a similar Scam Alert last summer when high rates of utility scam calls were being reported. Beshear said utility related scams occur in cycles and are often most common in the hot summer months and cold winter months.
In addition to the new scam reports, over the past eight months the Attorney General’s Office of Senior Protection and Mediation received 10 reports of utility related scams. The scam cost Kentuckians in Calloway, Fayette, Floyd, Grayson, Jefferson, Taylor and Trigg counties more than $2,500.
To help Kentuckians stay up to date on new and trending scams, Beshear launched Scam Alerts – a communication service that alerts Kentuckians when con artists are on the attack. To sign up for Scam Alerts, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311) or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.