A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

LG&E, KU encouraging Kentuckians to learn signs of scams as part of National Consumer Protection Week

Not long ago, scammers used traditional calls and mail to our homes to make contact with unsuspecting consumers in an effort to carry out their crimes, but as technology has advanced, scammers have too. From dialing our smartphones, to texting, emailing and employing social media, scammers have just as many tools at their disposal as we have ways to communicate. That’s why it’s more important than ever that consumers educate themselves.

As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company are reminding customers of tips to help them identify scams and avoid falling prey to potential perpetrators. The utilities’ efforts come in partnership with those of fellow members of Utilities United Against Scams — a collaborative made up of more than 100 natural gas, electric and water utility companies across the country and Canada. Members of the group work across the utility industry and with regulators, law enforcement and other telecommunications partners to help stop scams targeting utility customers.

Signs of Potential Scam Activity:

• Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer his or her utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made – usually within less than an hour.

• Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card – widely available at retail stores – then call them back supposedly to make a bill payment to his or her utility company.

• Request for prepaid card: When the customer calls back, the caller asks the customer for the prepaid card’s number, which grants the scammer instant access to the card’s funds, and the victim’s money is gone.

LG&E and KU work with law enforcement investigating these types of crimes, and offer the following SAFE advice to residential and business customers:

Secure your personal information: LG&E and KU will never call and ask for credit or debit card numbers or other personal information.

Always remember you have bill payment options: LG&E and KU offer customers a variety of official payment options. A complete list can be found at here.

First check with LG&E and KU if you’re suspicious: Customers who receive a suspicious live phone call, an email or letter should call LG&E and KU which will always verify official communications. LG&E customers should call 502-589-1444 (outside Louisville at 1-800-331-7370); KU customers should call 1-800-981-0600.

Enlist the help of authorities: In addition to contacting the company, customers who suspect they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with scammers, should report it to their local police department.

The Federal Trade Commission website also offers helpful tips for protecting personal information.

Visit utilitiesunited.org for more information and tips about how consumers can protect themselves from scams.

From Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities

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