San Antonio, Tx. (November 19, 2019) – CPS Energy will join Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) and utilities across the nation to recognize the fourth annual Utility Scam Awareness Day on Wednesday, November 20. Utility Scam Awareness Day is part of the week-long National Scam Awareness Week, an advocacy and awareness campaign focused on educating customers and exposing the tactics used by scammers. This year’s theme is ‘It Happened to Me, Don’t Let It Happen to You.’
“Protecting our customers from scammers is important to us. Unfortunately, some of them have been victimized by individuals posing as CPS Energy employees,” said DeAnna Hardwick, Interim Vice President of Customer Success for CPS Energy. “We want our customers to know that if they receive threatening calls demanding money, they should hang up immediately and call us directly to verify the status of their account and report the call.”
As part of an ongoing communications campaign, CPS Energy will highlight tips and information on their website and social media to help prevent customers from being scammed. The utility says that from September to October of this year, they have seen a 250% increase in customer reported scam calls.
“While our Utilities United Against Scams consortium has made significant progress during our four years of work to educate and protect customers, the criminals targeting our communities continuously adapt and occasionally fool even the most sophisticated customers. While it is heartbreaking to hear from individuals and businesses who have lost money to scammers, we appreciate their willingness to share their experiences so that others might not fall victim,” said Jared Lawrence, vice president of customer operations at Duke Energy, and UUAS founder and executive committee chair.
It is not uncommon for scammers to call, text, or email utility customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection. As a reminder, CPS Energy will never send a single notification to a customer within one hour of a service interruption and will never ask customers to make payments with a pre-paid debit card, gift card, or any form of cryptocurrency.
CPS Energy offers the following reminders to customers:
The utility will never:
- Call to demand payment or money at your home or business.
- Request credit card or banking information.
- Threaten to turn off your service if payment is not made immediately.
More tips can be found at cpsenergy.com/scammers.
Customers who suspect they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened during contact with a scammer should contact their local utility company or law enforcement authorities. The Federal Trade Commission’s website also provides additional information about protecting personal information and other information regarding impostor scams.
Scam awareness education is frequently posted on social media and news outlets periodically publish news stories regarding local scam tactics. CPS Energy doesn’t want any customers’ holiday season to be ruined by successful scams. Awareness messaging is increasing in the near future through billboards, mailers and messaging in English and Spanish on utility bills.