Pennsylvania American Water will join Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) 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.’
“We continue to educate our customers and the general public in an effort to protect them from utility worker imposters,” said Pennsylvania American Water President Mike Doran. “It is so important for our customers to stay vigilant and know how to detect, avoid and report utility scams. Our employees care about our customers’ safety, and we don’t mind waiting for our customers to ask questions, call us back on our customer service line, request to see company-issued photo ID badges, and verify that we are legitimate utility representatives conducting legitimate utility business. We believe it’s worth the peace of mind for our customers.”
UUAS, a consortium of more than 140 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, has helped to create awareness of common and new scam tactics and to cease operations of nearly 5,000 toll-free numbers used against utility customers by scammers.
“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, utilities will never send a single notification to a customer within one hour of a service interruption, and they never will ask their customers to make payments with a pre-paid debit card, gift card, or any form of cryptocurrency.
Pennsylvania American Water reminds customers that its service personnel wear uniforms, drive company-branded vehicles, and wear photo identification badges with the company’s logo. Residents are urged to take the time to ask for and examine the photo identification badge whenever an individual claiming to be a utility worker arrives at their home or business. Pennsylvania American Water does not accept payment at a customer’s house. Customers with any suspicions should call 9-1-1, or Pennsylvania American Water’s customer service center at 1-800-565-7292.
“Utilities United Against Scams wants to stress that anyone from small business owner to senior citizen can fall victim to a utility imposter scam, in fact roughly 60 percent of scams reported to our members are from business customers,” said UUAS Executive Director Monica Martinez, who was a former regulator at the Michigan Public Service Commission. “Education is the best way to stop these fraudulent scams.”
Customers who suspect that 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.
Follow Pennsylvania American Water on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for scam awareness tips throughout the week. Customers can also visit www.utilitiesunited.org for more information and tips on how customers can protect themselves from impostor utility scams and follow along with UUAS on Twitter and Facebook.
Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.4 million people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Director, Communications & External Affairs