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Scams


Be informed and protect yourself.

Help protect yourself from being scammed on your utility bill by understanding what types of scams are being run and what to do if you get a suspicious call about your bill. 

Tacoma Public Utilities:

  • Will not call you and ask for your debit, credit or prepaid card info.
     
  • Only asks for your payment card number if you call us to make a payment over the phone.
     
  • Offers many ways to pay. You do not need to buy prepaid cards to make an immediate payment.



Types Of Scams

TPU callback number

Recently, a man has called TPU customers from a phone that shows up as Tacoma Public Utilities on caller ID. He tries to coerce customers into making an immediate payment of up to $1,200 and threatens to disconnect them if they do not pay.

The phone number that shows on caller ID is (855) 652-0599. People who call that number can select from a variety of options that mimic services provided by the utility. After selecting an option, an imposter will answer the phone and may sound like a credible utility employee.   

Green Dot/Money Pak/Prepaid Card Scam
Scammers call customers and say their account is overdue and they are at risk of being cut off unless immediate payment is made. Scammers ask customers to get a prepaid card (Green Dot or Money Pak, or even PayPal) and call back to provide the card information for payment. It allows scammers to get customers’ money in a way that it will never be returned. Source: Federal Trade Commission
 

Email phishing scam
This scam involves email messages that look like they might be from the utility. The message may tell customers that their bill us “due upon receipt” or “past due.” Clicking on the link will prompt the download of malware. Source: Washington Attorney General’s Office


Account-related email messages from Tacoma Public Utilities will come from no-reply@MyTPU.org.

Topics we cover about your account via email include:

  • Electronic utility bill
  • Bill notification
  • Registration completed
  • Password reset
  • User id retrieval
  • Paperless bill enrollment
  • Paperless bill ready
  • Payment agreement reminder
  • AutoPay withdrawal reminder
  • Payment due reminder
  • AutoPay enrollment
  • AutoPay payment card expiring
  • AutoPay payment card declined
  • AutoPay cancel
  • Payment card payment
  • Quick pay payment
  • Direct debit payment
  • Direct debit scheduled payment
  • Budget billing enrollment confirmation

Listen To a Scam Artist Caught On Tape 
Watch and listen to this example, caught on tape by Salt River Project, Arizona's largest utility. This video captures a call from someone posing as an SRP employee, trying to scam a customer. 



What To Do


If You've Been Contacted

  • If you think someone is trying to scam you, contact Tacoma Public Utilities to find out if payment is due. You can also check your account status 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.
     
  • Report Green Dot/prepaid scammers to the utility and to the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. You should also report scammers to MoneyPak at www.moneypak.com. Click on MoneyPak Help on the home page and then on the “What if I’m aware of a possible scam?” link. –Source: MoneyPak
     


If You've Been Scammed 

  • If you have paid through MoneyPak/Green Dot, you can file a dispute by visiting www.moneypak.com and clicking on MoneyPak Help on the homepage. You can file a dispute online. –Source: MoneyPak
     
  • You may also report scams to the local police and the Federal Trade Commission.