Posing as utility company employees are just one of many ways scammers may try to take your money.
“You’re used to paying money to a utility company,” said Chace Murphy with Atmos Energy. “And the scammer might threaten to turn off your gas if you don’t pay right then at your door.”
But Murphy says Atmos will never show up at your door and demand payment. He also provided three questions to ask yourself or your visitor to be able to determine whether it is a legitimate Atmos employee or an imposter at your door.
1. What are they driving? Ask to see their truck. Is there one? Does it have the appropriate logos? See the video player above for the specific logos an Atmos truck will have.
2. What are they wearing? Again, look for Atmos logos on the uniform, particularly the helmet. See the video player above for a live demonstration of what an Atmos worker would be on the job.
3. Why are they here? Ask them. If they can’t describe the job, be suspicious. If they ask you for money, do not give it to them. As Murphy stresses, an Atmos employee will never show up at your door and demand payment.
For the full conversation, see the video player above. For more advice on avoiding utility scams, see the information from Atmos Energy below.
Atmos Energy Urges Caution During Utility Scam Awareness Week
BRYAN, Texas (Nov. 21, 2019) – Atmos Energy joins Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) in observation of the fourth annual Utility Scam Awareness Week to educate customers and expose deceptive tactics used by scammers.
UUAS, a consortium of more than 140 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, aims to create awareness of fraudulent schemes and to cease operations of nearly 5,000 toll-free numbers used against utility customers by scammers.
“The safety of the public, our employees and our system is our highest priority, and this includes helping protect our customers from the harmful impact of a utility impostor scam,” says Derek Boyd, Atmos Energy director of security and risk management. “Unfortunately, scammers continuously adapt and occasionally fool even the most sophisticated customers. We are thankful to join UUAS and utility companies across North America to expose scammer tactics, so our customers can better protect themselves, their loved ones and their neighbors from these threats.”
Scammers typically use three strategies – in-person, online or phone – to target the money, property and personal information of utility customers. We recommend customers take the following steps to protect themselves from fraud:
· Always ask for an employee’s identification badge, which displays their name, photograph, and Atmos Energy logo.
· If you suspect an impostor, call our customer service number at 888.286.6700 immediately to verify the employee's identity and contact local authorities.
· Beware of impostors demanding payment at your door. Our employees will not collect cash payments in person.
· Beware of bogus emails requesting immediate payment of your bill, particularly with prepaid debit cards.
· Verify that your account number listed is correct.
· Do not click on any links in the suspicious email, as many contain viruses.
· Verify your account balance through our online Account Center.
· Telephone scams are also on the rise, where people pose as utility employees and demand immediate payment of past due balances.
· If you ever have concerns about the legitimacy of a call, please hang up and call our customer service number at 888.286.6700.