AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Energy is asking customers to protect themselves from scammers as part of their messaging during National Consumer Protection Week.
From October to early February, City of Austin Utilities has had more than 700 scams reported and 21 customers were duped out of a total of $16,000.
Austin Energy official Jennifer Herber said utility customers in the Austin area are being targeted by imposter utility scam every day and scammers typically reach customers by phone or via email. Sometimes they will also send text messages or even visit your home.
The scammer will say a customer’s utilities will be disconnected if the customer fails to make an immediate payment, typically using a reloadable prepaid debit card or another non-traceable form of payment. They will often seem very believable with valid-looking phone numbers, graphics, uniforms and other forms of fake identification.
If you receive a phone call or email threatening to interrupt service, hang up and report it on 311.
Make a note of call details, especially the phone number that appeared on Caller ID and the number the scammer requested that you call back to make payment.
Austin Energy works with law enforcement to assist in shutting down scams. If you are uncertain of your account status, visit our Online Customer Care Portal or call 512-494-9400.