BEWARE! Austin utility customers report scam calls posing as payment collectors

Crime
Phone call scam File

AUSTIN (KXAN) — City of Austin Utilities is warning customers to be aware of potential phone calls by people posing as city or Austin Energy employees and threatening utility shut off unless they receive payment immediately.

PREVIOUSLY: Austin Energy customers report fake calls

According to the City of Austin, as of Wednesday, 48 customers — 20 residential and 28 commercial — report receiving these scam calls.

One customer reportedly paid a caller $700.

The city says the calls come from toll-free numbers and even mimic the city’s on-hold music to trick customers into thinking the call is legitimate.

The City of Austin wants customers to know six things:

  1. The City of Austin Utilities Customer Contact Center does not call residential customers with cut-off deadlines (Commercial customers may receive courtesy calls two days before scheduled cut-offs)
  2. The city will never ask for credit card or wire transfer information over the phone
  3. While some customers do pay in cash, the city will never demand immediate payment in person with cash, gift card or Bitcoin
  4. Payments can be made by mail, walk-in or online at coautilities.com
  5. If a customer receives a phone call threatening service interruption or immediate payment, they should hang up and dial 311 or (512) 974-2000 and report the incident immediately.
  6. Anyone who has received what they believe to be a scam call and is uncertain about their status with City of Austin Utilities should call the Customer Contact Center at (512) 494-9400.

Cedar Park police has also reported seeing an increase in the number of phone scams, many of which have numbers that look like they’re coming from the police department. CPPD said one victim lost nearly $12,000.

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