8/11/16

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Alert: Beware of scams targeting utility customers

Scammers and con artists are targeting primarily small-business owners pretending to be Puget Sound Energy employees collecting payment for an overdue bill. The callers threaten businesses with having their service disconnected if they do not pay immediately with a prepaid card or provide credit card information.

Do not fall for this scam and do not make a payment or give out personal information over the phone.

If a phone call seems suspicious, it probably is. Customers should hang up and report the incident to PSE at 1-888-225-5773.

Businesses should know they would receive several communications from PSE related to bill payment before any disruption in service. PSE never asks or requires customers who have delinquent accounts to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.

Customers receiving such calls or other contact regarding their utility account or bill are encouraged to make note of any information, such as the phone number they are asked to call, a number that appears on Caller ID or an address where they’re told to send money.

In addition to notifying PSE, businesses are encouraged to report suspicious, fraudulent calls and emails. These agencies have taken the lead on investigating utility scams:

For additional information, view this video on pse.com.

PSE resources

On pse.com, including a video

http://pse.com/accountsandservices/YourAccount/Pages/Scam-Alert.aspx

PSE tips

WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE SCAMS

  • If a phone call seems suspicious, it probably is. Customers should hang up and report the incident to us at 1-888-225-5773. Don’t provide any personal information to anyone unless you’re certain you know who you’re speaking with.
  • Thieves are using sophisticated, deceptive tactics to manipulate Caller ID systems to make it appear a call is coming from a legitimate company when it’s not. It’s always best to call an actual company to verify an inquiry.
  • PSE customers should know they would receive several communications from us related to bill payment before any disruption in service.
  • PSE never asks or requires customers who have delinquent accounts to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
  • When it comes to bill payment calls, our vendors do not call after noon on Saturdays and do not make any calls on Sundays; any calls during those periods are definite red flags.
  • Anyone receiving such calls or other contact regarding their utility account or bill is encouraged to make note of any information, such as the phone number they are asked to call, a number that appears on Caller ID or an address where they’re told to send money.
  • We encourage our customers to report suspicious, fraudulent calls and emails. These agencies have taken the lead on investigating utility scams: