A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KG&E, Kentucky Utilities join Utilities United Against Scams to remind consumers to scammers’ tactics

As a member of the award-winning Utilities United Against Scams, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company are continuing efforts to remind consumers of the tactics scammers use to steal money and to educate consumers on how they can guard against falling victim to impostor utility scams.
UUAS, a consortium of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas companies (and their respective trade associations), continues to raise awareness of utility scams targeting customers. The group’s third annual Utility Scam Awareness Day, which falls on Wednesday, November 14, is supported by a week-long advocacy and awareness campaign focused on exposing the tactics of scammers.

Don’t give your credit card information over the phone.

“By joining forces with fellow utilities we’re hoping our collective efforts will remind customers to stay vigilant, reduce these types of crimes and put would-be scammers on notice,” said Beth McFarland, LG&E and KU vice president of Customer Services. “The safety and security of our customers is a top priority for our company, and we’re committed to keeping them protected.”

“To better protect customers, it is critically important we continue to raise awareness and to educate customers about scams,” said UUAS Chairman Jared Lawrence. “Scammers are developing increasingly sophisticated schemes to take advantage of customers. Through the ‘7 Scams in 7 Days’ campaign, UUAS will highlight the most common scam tactics and provide resources to help utility customers better protect themselves from utility impostor scammers.”
UUAS and its member companies have helped to shut down more than 2,200 Toll-Free Numbers used by scammers against utility customers.
Customers are encouraged to be aware of these 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 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.

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