Sixth annual Utility Scam Awareness Day offers consumer resources, tips
(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – Tomorrow, Nov. 17, marks the sixth annual Utility Scam Awareness Day when Louisville Gas and Electric, Kentucky Utilities and Old Dominion Power will join fellow U.S. and Canadian utilities to raise customers’ awareness about common scams and offer advice on how to avoid them.
This annual event is led by a consortium of nearly 150 electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations called Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS). Through its work and with the help of customer reporting, UUAS has helped successfully take out of operation nearly 12,000 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers.
“Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of our customers when we are notified someone’s been contacted by a scammer. Unfortunately, utilities are seeing these attempts becoming more sophisticated,” said Eileen Saunders, LG&E and KU vice president-Customer Services. “The most powerful means to stop a scammer is to know the signs ahead of time and what you, as a consumer, can do to avoid them.”
Tips to P-R-O-T-E-C-T
LG&E, KU and ODP encourage customers to follow the below tips on how to recognize a scam, what to do if you suspect you’ve been contacted and how to verify official communications from your utility.
- Personal information is protected: LG&E, KU and ODP will never contact customers and demand credit or debit card numbers, checking account information or other personal information.
- Remember you have bill payment options: LG&E, KU and ODP will never require using a prepaid debit/gift card or ask a customer to transfer money to a third-party app. The utilities offer a variety of convenient options to make it easier for customers to pay their bill, including through our official mobile app, online, in person, by phone or by mail.
- Observe intimidation tactics: Scammers will resort to using intimidation tactics. This may include threatening service disconnection if a payment isn’t received within a very short amount of time. They may even pull information they’ve found publicly available online to make themselves sound more credible. If you observe these types of tactics, end the interaction right away and do not provide any information. LG&E, KU and ODP will never demand an immediate payment or threaten service disconnection.
- Take your time: As part of their intimidation tactics, scammers may press customers to act quickly. Stop, slow down and end the interaction. Contact your utility directly through our official contact channels to confirm any official communications and the status of your most current bill.
- Enlist the help of law enforcement: Customers who suspect they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with scammers, should report it to their local police department and contact their utility. LG&E, KU and ODP work year-round with local law enforcement agencies investigating these types of crimes.
- Check with your utility if you’re suspicious: Customers who receive a suspicious live phone call, email, text message, letter or in-person visit should contact their utility directly to verify official communications or in-person service visits. LG&E residential customers should call 502-589-1444 (outside Louisville at 1-800-331-7370); KU/ODP residential customers should call 1-800-981-0600.
- Track and save your utility’s official contact channels: Keep on hand your utility’s official phone numbers, website address and other contact channels. Scammers may attempt to “spoof” – or mask over – a utility’s phone number, call from a different phone number or ask the customer to “press 1” to collect personal or payment information. Likewise, note down any phone numbers or other contact information provided by the scammer; this information is very important when reporting the scam to local law enforcement and your utility.
In-person appointments and services
LG&E, KU and ODP encourage customers to always obtain positive identification in the event someone appears at their door stating they are there on any company’s behalf. The utilities’ employees and contractors will always carry an authentic company ID badge that shows the LG&E, KU and ODP logos, the person’s name and a color photograph.
Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) family of companies, are regulated utilities that serve more than 1.3 million customers and have consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. LG&E serves 332,000 natural gas and 425,000 electric customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties. KU serves 564,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties and five counties in Virginia. More information is available at www.lge-ku.com and www.pplweb.com.