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.
Demanding Face-to-Face Payment by Pre-Paid Debit Card
Tacoma Public Utilities’ Customer Services team has been flooded by phone calls from customers concerned they may have been the target of a scam.
The scam calls start out the same way they often do, with customers hearing their account is delinquent. The scammers tell customers their utilities will be shut off unless they make a payment immediately – many demanding $1,000 or more.
“Because credit/debit cards take time to process” they say, customers are told to purchase pre-paid debit cards at a local convenience store. Instead of taking payment over the phone, however, customers are told to meet a “utility worker” at their meter box or local business to ensure payment is received.
Requesting face-to-face contact with customers is a new – and potentially dangerous – approach by scammers.
Tacoma Public Utilities is partnering with the Tacoma Police Department to help keep utility customers safe, with a goal to reach our customers before they become a victim.
- 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.