Thieves working new scam targeting utility customers

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Pacific Power is aware of a particularly deceptive scam targeting utility customers in southern Oregon.

In recent days, a handful of customers in the Grants Pass area have reported receiving fraudulent emails and texts from scammers posing as utility representatives. The scamsters insist that the customer is behind on payments or needs to pay for a meter change. They even send a mocked up, fake bill. They then threaten that, without an immediate payment, service will be disconnected.

Calling the number listed on the fake bill connects the customer to someone who attempts to get an immediate payment.

“This illegal activity seeks to erode the trust our customers have in us,” said Barb Coughlin, vice president of customer service for Pacific Power. “We want to protect our customers from this fraudulent activity in any way we can.”

Customers can protect themselves from these types of schemes by being aware of the following signs that indicate deceitful calls or emails:

  • If the caller says he is with the “Pacific Power Disconnection Department.” No such department exists. Two of the emails use the title “Pacific Power Corp” which is not the company’s name.
  • Don’t be deceived. Even if the Caller ID on your phone reads out 888-221-7070, our customer service line, don’t be deceived.  The scammers are technically sophisticated and able to put out false numbers on caller ID in order to make their call seem more credible.
  • If the caller asks for your credit card number or advises you to purchase a pre-paid card from a store and to call back with the code. Pacific Power will not ask for this information. We can facilitate credit card payments through our vendor upon request, but our employees don’t handle these payments directly. Pacific Power offers a wide variety of ways to pay and will not direct on which option to use.
  • If the caller claims your electric service will be disconnected if you don’t make a payment immediately, particularly if you haven’t received any prior notice about late payments or a potential disconnection. We don’t threaten our customers. Instead, we work with customers who are behind on their payments to help them get back on track. 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.

If you receive one of these scam calls, ask the caller to state your account number and compare it with the number listed on your bill. Be careful not to give your account number to them. Pacific Power customer service employees will always have your account number.

Remember, if you still have concerns about the legitimacy of a call or an email, you can always hang up on the suspected scammer and call Pacific Power at our published customer service number, 1-888-221-7070. It’s a toll free call and we have customer service employees available around the clock.

If you receive a suspicious call or email, take note of the phone number the person is calling from and any information that may help to track down the crooks. Please call and let us know at 1-888-221-7070.