TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Evergy has warned customers about new utility scam tactics and continues to raise awareness on Utility Scam Awareness Day.
Evergy says it will join more than 100 utilities across the continent to celebrate the seventh annual Utility Scam Awareness Day, part of International Fraud Awareness Week.
“We want customers to be able to spot signs of fraud so they don’t become victims,” said Jeff Martin, Evergy’s vice president, customer operations. “Scammers use the threat of immediate disconnection to trick customers into taking immediate action. Evergy will never call and request immediate payment or tell a customer how to pay.”
Evergy said it offered the following safety tips for customers:
- Before asking for credit or debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking, or savings account information, make sure the person on the other end of the phone is with Evergy by asking for company identification or by calling the customer contact center. If the person cannot be verified, do not share this information.
- Be suspicious if you receive an email or SMS about utility bills when customers have not requested online communications from Evergy.
- For those who use Evergy’s online bill payment system, always make online payments directly through Evergy.
- Never provide personal information via email or click on suspicious links.
The utility found signs of potential fraud include:
- Threats to disconnect – Scammers can aggressively tell customers that their bill is overdue and the service will typically be disconnected within an hour if payment is not made.
- Prompt for immediate payment – Scammers can instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card, which is widely available in retail stores, and then call them back to supposedly pay a bill.
- Requesting a prepaid card or via a payment app – When the customer calls back, the caller asks the customer for the number of the prepaid card, which gives the scammer instant access to the card balance and the victim’s money is gone. Evergy doesn’t require payment through apps like CashApp, Venmo, orzelle.
Evergy pointed out that recently, scammers have been using increased calls, texts, emails, and in-person tactics, contacting utility customers to demand immediate payment to avoid a disruption in service. It said it will never ask customers to make payments using a prepaid debit card, gift card, any form of cryptocurrency, or any third-party digital payment application.
The utility said a phone scammer is often a live person posing as an Evergy employee who notifies the customer of an overdue bill and demands immediate payment to avoid a disconnection. Scammers can also spoof caller IDs to look like the company’s phone number.
If a customer is unable to make an immediate payment or does not respond, the caller will provide a callback number not associated with Evergy or the utility for customers to call back. When calling, customers are often presented with a convincing but fraudulent record with instructions to make their payment with a live person.
Based on valued customer testimonials, Evergy said it worked with Utilities United Against Scams to quickly shut down many of the fake numbers and derail scammers. In such cases, it is valuable for the reporting customer to obtain and provide the fraudster’s requested callback number.
For questions about the legitimacy of an Evergy bill, phone call or email, click HERE.
If you feel like you have been scammed, click HERE.
Copyright 2022 WIBW. All rights reserved.