Utilities Warn Against Scams

Nov 14, 2017

Utilities across the country are taking time this week to warn customers about the threat of scammers.

The "National Utilities Against Scams" campaign aims to educate business owners and private customers about scams, and how they can keep from being a victim.

Tina Gibbs with Ameren Illinois says scammers routinely demand money - and threaten to shut off electricity or gas immediately. She says that's not how it works.
"You're going to receive several notifications about a past due bill prior to disconnection, and usually it's a situation where the call taker is able to work out some sort of payment to keep electricity on. That's the last thing we want to do at Ameren Illinois - disconnect somebody's electricity."
Gibbs says scammers also are targeting small business owners, and calling during busy times like a lunch rush. She says callers hope the customer will be too busy to pay attention and will give up personal information without thinking.

"30 minutes before the lunch hour, or close their real busy dinner crowd coming in. So, a lot of times that's what they thrive on - hoping that they can panic the customer, and get that customer to pay them."

Some warning signs include demands for immediate payment or personal information, or payment from a pre-paid cards. Gibbs says if you think you're being scammed, hang up and call 800-755-5000 to check on your status.