Cleco shares tips to keep customers safe in observance of Utility Scam Awareness Day on Nov. 16
PINEVILLE, La. – Nov. 15, 2022 – Tomorrow is Utility Scam Awareness Day, and Cleco is reminding customers to be aware of fraudulent phone calls, text messages, emails and other tactics used by scammers to obtain your personal and financial information.
Cleco is a member of Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a consortium of more than 150 U.S. and Canadian utilities who work together to raise awareness of common scams and new scams being used by scammers. UUAS has successfully helped to take nearly 13,000 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers out of operation. “Scammers often try to take advantage of our customers by demanding immediate payments via phone, text messages or email,” said Kristi Moore, director of customer operations. “We can all be a target for these types of scams especially in a digital society. These tips will make sure our customers know what to look for, so they can avoid being scammed.” “Scammer tactics are becoming increasingly sophisticated, but utility impostor scams are oftentimes as simple as a scammer posing as a customer’s local utility, calling and threatening to shut off their service unless they provide payment,” said Monica Martinez, executive director of UUAS. “Customers shouldn’t be afraid to end a call that they suspect is a scam. You can always end the call and dial the number on your utility bill or on the utility website to confirm. Most utilities will send overdue notices in the mail rather than call, and they always provide several notices that help educate customers about the options available to help them manage financial hardships.” How Cleco customers can protect themselves:
• Slow down Take your time. Scammers try to pressure customers to act fast. Remember the following:
❖ Cleco will never ask customers for their personal banking information over the phone.
❖ Cleco will never call customers to demand immediate payment or ask for payments using a pre-paid debit card, gift card, cryptocurrencies or third-party digital payment mobile application.
• Verify Scammers often pose as utility company employees. If customers receive a phone call, text message, email or knock at the door, they should contact Cleco directly to verify the information using one of the following communication channels:
❖ Phone: 1-800-622-6537
❖ Online: www.cleco.com (Contact Us page) or the company’s online customer information system, MyAccount
❖ In Person: Local customer service office
• Disconnection Deception Scammers call threatening disconnection of your service, demanding immediate payment by prepaid cards.
• Overpayment Tactic Scammers call claiming you overpaid your utility bill, and you need to provide personal bank account information or a credit card number to facilitate a refund.
• Door Knocking Impostor
Door-to-door impostors pose as utility workers to gain entry or access into unsuspecting victims’ homes.
• Power Restoration Charge Scammers call offering to restore your electricity more quickly for a fee after a severe storm that caused widespread power outages.
• Identification Attack Rather than directing victims to call a 1-800 number, the scammers direct callers to press 1 to collect more data to get your personal information.
• Number Spoofing
Scammers will spoof a callback number that closely resembles the utility’s number.
Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened, should contact Cleco or their local law enforcement authorities.