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Scams

December 2021: TPU is receiving reports that scammers are calling customers requesting immediate payment for advanced meter upgrades or face disconnect. Current customer rates fund advanced meter upgrades, and additional payment is not required. TPU will never request immediate payment over the phone or shut off service without providing written notice at least seven days in advance.

Protect yourself from payment scammers by understanding new scams and what to do if you get a suspicious call or email. TPU takes customer security seriously and wants to protect you from scammers.

Phone scams: Sophisticated scammers use spoofing technology to look and sound like us. Their caller ID can show as TPU’s Customer Service line (253-502-8600). If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to represent TPU and demanding payment, hang up immediately.

Email scams: New email scams can involve fake utility bills being emailed that say payment is due immediately. You may even receive a fake bill from a utility outside of our area. If you receive an email with a bill that looks different from your normal bill or asks for personal information like your Social Security or credit card numbers, you should delete the email and not click on any links.

TACOMA PUBLIC UTILITIES WILL NEVER:

  • Call, email, or make a home visit demanding immediate payment.
  • Call, email, or make a home visit requesting credit card, banking, or financial information.
  • Request payment on a prepaid card.
  • Shut off service without providing written notice at least 7 days in advance.

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.
  • Scammers asking for personal information like your Social Security or credit card numbers.
How to verify a TPU representative

Tacoma Public Utilities will never call or email demanding immediate payment over the phone or via email. 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.
How to report a scammer

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

Additional Resources on Scams

Top 10 Imposter Utility Scams

Consumer’s Guide to Utility Scams

Tips to Avoid the Most Common Utility Scams

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