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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. 

Latest Scam - January 2018

Demanding Immediate Payment by Pre-Paid Debit Card

Scammers call threatening disconnection of your utility service, demanding immediate payment by prepaid cards purchased at a local retail store (or credit card, debit card, bank draft, wiring money, etc.), and insisting you call them back with the card information to make payment. They use caller ID spoofing technology to make it appear as though they are calling from TPU, and their call-back numbers include voice prompts or greetings you would hear when calling the real TPU customer service line. 

In some cases, customers are being told to leave the cards on the meter or at some other random location not associated with TPU.  They will not accept TPU’s traditional payment methods of using MyAccount, a TPU Paybox or TPU’s automated phone service.  


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. 

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How to verify a TPU representative 
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

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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
  • 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. 

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How to report a scammer

TPU encourages customers to report suspicious activities that could be a payment scam. 

  • Contact Tacoma Public Utilities Customer Services during regular business hours.
  • Report it to local law enforcement


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