Be Vigilant Against Scammers: Utility Scam Awareness Week
Every day customers in Hawaiʻi and throughout the country experience fraudulent activity tied to utility scams. To help raise awareness and prevent the rise of victims to these type of scams, Utility Scam Awareness Week is observed from November 16 -20 to educate customers on the ever evolving methods that scammers use to target utility customers.
During this week, Hawaiian Telcom and other Hawai'i utilities and state agencies are working together to ask that customers remain vigilant as scam calls, phishing emails and personal encounters by impostor utility scammers – already more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic – ramp up heading into the holidays.
Scammers who target utility customers pose as bill collectors and utility workers. That's why customers need to remain alert and recognize suspicious behaviors, especially when criminals threaten to disconnect service unless a payment is made.
Scammers target customers of utility companies such as telecommunications, electricity, water, and gas due to the essential nature of these services. Those who rely on these services can become vulnerable when told that they're at risk of being disconnected.
Here are valuable tips to help identify a possible utility scam:
- If the caller says your utility account is delinquent and threatens to shut off service immediately unless payment is made, it’s a scam. Don’t be fooled by the caller ID, which can be manipulated to show a legitimate phone number.
- If someone calls from a utility demanding immediate payment over the phone, via money transfer, prepaid debit cards or by Bitcoin, it’s a scam.
- If the caller asks to meet the customer in person to pick up a payment, it’s a scam.
- If you receive an email from your utility urging you to click on an embedded link or attachment to resolve a utility issue or pay a bill, think before you click. It’s likely a scam.
- If a utility worker shows up at your home or place of business, ensure that person is wearing official attire with a logo, driving a properly labeled vehicle and carrying company identification. When in doubt, call the utility’s customer service center.
A special mahalo to Hawaiian Electric, Hawaiʻi Gas, Honolulu Board of Water Supply and Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative, along with the state Office of Consumer Protection and Honolulu Police Department for joining the effort to protect customers in Hawaiʻi against utility scams.
For more information about utility scams and Utility Scam Awareness Week, visit the Utilities United website or check out the #StopScams hashtag on social media to join the conversation.
Click here to view the Hawaiian Telcom Utility Scam Awareness Week news release.