Protect yourself from payment scammers by understanding what types of scams are being run and what to do if you get a suspicious call or email about your bill. Tacoma Public Utilities takes the security of our customers seriously and wants you to be prepared if you are contacted by a scammer.
What to watch for
- Scammers posing as utility employees are contacting Tacoma Public Utilities customers mainly by phone.
- Scammers are threatening to shut off power if payments are not immediately made.
- Scammers are pressuring customers to obtain pre-paid credit cards or provide cash to make immediate payments.
- Scammers are targeting non- or limited-English speaking businesses.
June 2017 scam:
Using a fake badge, a man knocked on a TPU customer’s door recently and presented himself as a utility worker. The customer, feeling that something wasn’t right, told the man to leave.
Keep yourself safe knowing this: TPU employees will always have a vehicle marked with the TPU logo on the side. They will always have a badge with their employee number and a utility phone number you can call to verify their employment; please call us!
Unless utility workers have an appointment with you, they do not need to enter your home. If you find that the person is not a utility employee, or you’re just concerned, call the police.
Tacoma Public Utilities will never call demanding immediate payment over the phone. We follow a specific protocol when receiving payments or notifying a customer when we will shut off power.
Tacoma Public Utilities employees will:
- Never call, email, or make a home visit demanding an immediate payment.
- Never call, email, or make a home visit requesting credit card, banking, or financial information.
- Never request payment on a prepaid card.
- Never shut off service without providing written notice at least 7 days in advance.
- Provide Employee Identification on request.
- Offer many ways to pay.
What to do if you suspect a scam
- If you think someone is trying to scam you, contact Tacoma Public Utilities during regular business hours to find out if payment is due. You can also check your account status online at MyTPU.org/MyAccount.
- Remember TPU accepts traditional payment methods of cash, check, credit and debit cards. It is never necessary for you to buy a separate prepaid card to avoid disconnection. See our Ways to Pay.
- Never give your credit or debit card number or any other personal information to anyone without knowing their true identity.
- Remember that scammers can make it look like they’re calling or emailing from the utility when they are calling from somewhere else.
TPU encourages customers to report suspicious activities that could be a payment scam.
- Contact Tacoma Public Utilities Customer Services during regular business hours.
- Business customers can call TPU’s Business Solutions Office 253-502-8606, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Report it to local law enforcement