Xcel Energy and Utilities Nationwide Promote Scam Awareness Campaign to Protect Customers

Xcel Energy is joining more than 100 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities
to raise awareness about scams targeting customers. November 15th was the second annual
Utility Scam Awareness Day, which focuses on exposing the tactics scammers use to steal
money from utility customers and educating customers about how to protect themselves.

Typically, customers receive a telephone call from an individual claiming to be a utility company
representative. In some cases, scammers extort payments from customers by threatening to
disconnect or shutoff service immediately.  To complicate matters, scammers are increasingly
adept at disguising themselves as utility company representatives. For example, some
scammers use technology to “spoof” a phone number so when a customer views caller ID, it
appears the call is actually coming from a utility company when it is not.

Xcel Energy is a member of Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a consortium of utility
companies and their respective trade organizations that develop consumer education
campaigns and initiatives to prevent scams. This week, UUAS released a report titled,
“Consumer’s Guide to Impostor Utility Scams,” which exposes some of the most frequent ways
in which impostors pose as utility companies to steal money from customers.

Signs of Potential Scam Activity:
• Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer his or her utility bill is
past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made – usually within an hour.
• Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct a customer to purchase a
prepaid card – widely available at retail stores – then instruct the customer to use the card
to pay their utility bill.
• Request for prepaid card: When the customer calls back, the caller asks the customer for
the prepaid card’s number, which grants the scammer instant access to the card’s funds and
the victim’s money is gone.

Comments are closed.