SALT LAKE CITY — An old scheme is making its way around to some Utah electricity customers, and Rocky Mountain Power is advising consumers to beware of scammers targeting them.
Consumers report getting calls from fraudsters posing as Rocky Mountain Power representatives claiming the customer is behind on their power bill. The scammer then threatens to shut off service unless they receive payment immediately.
Tiffany Erickson, spokeswoman for Rocky Mountain Power, said the scam targets older customers or business customers during their "busy times" when they are less likely to question the legitimacy of the call. She noted that some customers have provided the crooks with their credit card information and fallen victim to the scam.
"Some of the scammers are able to mimic our systems, so they sound like Rocky Mountain Power," she explained. "They sometimes have recordings that say that this is (the) utility."
However, Erickson points out that customers can protect themselves from these types of schemes by being aware of the signs that indicate fraudulent calls, including if the caller claims to be with the “Rocky Mountain Power Disconnection Department” — be reminded that no such department exists.
If the caller asks for a credit card number or says to purchase a pre-paid card from a store and to call back with the code, remember that Rocky Mountain Power would never ask for such information, she said.
"We can facilitate credit card payments through our vendor upon request, but our employees don’t handle these payments directly," Erickson said.
If the caller claims the customer's electric service will be disconnected if they don’t make a payment immediately, particularly if you haven’t received any prior notice about late payments or a potential disconnection, then it's a scam, she added.
"We don’t threaten our customers, and work with customers who are behind on their payments to help them get back on track," she said. "Generally, notices about past due bills are sent to customers in the mail or delivered to their home, or they receive an automated phone message."
Erickson said if a customer receives a possible scam call, they should ask the caller to state their account number and compare it with the number listed on their bill. Rocky Mountain Power customer service employees will always have your account number, she said.
She also advised that if a customer gets a suspicious call, take down the phone number and any information that may help to track down the fraudsters. Customers with concerns about the legitimacy of a call should hang up and call the company's published toll-free customer service number at 888-221-7070, she said.