Utilities join collaborative effort in U.S., Canada
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2016) – Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company are joining forces with gas and electric utilities across the U.S. and Canada to educate customers about scams.
The industry group is designating Wednesday, Nov. 16 “Utilities United Against Scams Day” and plans to support it with a week-long informational campaign exposing some of the tricks scammers use to target utility customers and how customers can protect themselves. Going forward, the collaborative plans to observe Utilities United Against Scams Day each year, on the third Wednesday in November.
“Maintaining our customers’ security and arming them with information to help better protect them against utility fraud schemes is a top priority for our company,” said Victor A. Staffieri, chairman, CEO and president of LG&E and KU. “By working as part of this orchestrated effort, we hope to raise awareness to a new level and discourage the perpetrators of these scams from continuing to target consumers.”
While LG&E and KU work with law enforcement investigating these types of crimes, as part of the initiative the utilities are reminding customers to be wary of schemes seen across the service territory and nationwide in recent years. One involves a caller who claims to be a utility employee and asks for immediate bill payment by credit card or prepaid money card. If the targeted customer does not cooperate, the caller threatens to disconnect the person’s electric or natural gas service. In another scam, customers receive emails, from what appears to be their utility provider, stating a past due amount and directing them to click a link.
LG&E and KU offer the following SAFE advice to residential and business customers:
• Secure your personal information: LG&E and KU will never call and ask for credit or debit card numbers or other personal information.
• Always remember you have bill payment options: LG&E and KU offer customers a variety of official payment options. A complete list can be found at here.
• First check with LG&E and KU if you’re suspicious: Customers who receive a suspicious live phone call, an email or letter should call LG&E and KU which will always verify official communications. LG&E customers should call 502-589-1444 (outside Louisville at 1-800-331-7370); KU customers should call 1-800-981-0600.
• Elect to speak to an LG&E and KU representative: As a courtesy, LG&E and KU do make computer-generated calls to remind customers if their payment is late, and the call includes an option for customers to select if they want to make their payment by phone.
LG&E and KU encourage customers to always obtain positive identification in the event someone appears at their door stating they are there on any company’s behalf. LG&E and KU employees carry authentic company ID badges which — whether issued to an employee or a contractor — show the companies’ logos. An employee ID card always has the employee’s name and color photograph on the front as well. Sometimes there are legitimate service-related reasons the utilities may need access to a customer’s home, but in-person contact at a customer’s home never involves collecting payment for a monthly bill.