PINEVILLE, La. (WNTZ) – Today 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.
“We can all be a target for these types of scams especially in a digital society,” said Kristi Moore, director of customer operations. “Utility scammers are now becoming increasingly sophisticated, and Cleco is committed to raising awareness and educating our customers on these schemes to prevent them from becoming a victim.”
“Utility impostor scammers continue to grow more sophisticated in their tactics. Increasingly, we are seeing scammers use digital methods that target both younger and older generations. We encourage customers to stop and verify any unusual utility company requests before making a payment, regardless of whether the customer is contacted via phone, internet, or in person,” said UUAS Executive Director Monica Martinez.
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.
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 in an effort to get your personal information.
- Number Spoofing
Scammers will spoof a callback number that closely resembles the utility’s number.