The Iowa Utilities Board is reminding utility customers of potential utility scams ahead of the holiday season.
Scammers can target utility customers by telephone, online or by showing up for an unscheduled appointment. They may also use aggressive tactics to demand entry or payment by threatening to discontinue services.
The scams try to convince customers to purchase a prepaid Green Dot card, pay with a credit card or by providing personal information. Iowa utility companies are required to provide advance notice to customers for potential service disconnection.
The Iowa Utilities Board has released the following tips that can help utility customers avoid falling prey to scammers.
- Do not let an individual claiming to be a utility representative into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment and verified the identity of that person. - Do not give personal information to individuals demanding immediate payment by credit card or prepaid debit/credit cards when receiving suspicious phone calls, emails or an unscheduled visit from individuals claiming to be a utility company representative. - Never provide your social security or credit card numbers or your bank account information to anyone during these calls, emails or unannounced visits. - If someone calls or knocks on your door claiming to represent your utility and demands immediate payment or personal information, hang up, close and lock the door and call the customer service number listed on your utility bill to verify the status of your account or whether an employee was dispatched to your location. - If you feel threatened by the caller, the email or by the person at your door, end the contact immediately and call local police, or 911.
Customers can also report suspicious scam activity by contacting the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General's Office, or by calling 888-777-4590.