Scammers target utility customers every day — especially around the holidays. Additionally, there has been increased scam activity since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Knowing the current hardships many are facing, scammers are even requesting donations to fake charities.
If you pay a utility bill, you can be a target. That’s why it’s important to understand and protect yourself from utility scam tactics. These scams occur by phone, by email and in person. If you are ever in doubt, call us directly at (602) 236-8888.
Here are five common tactics scammers use to target utility customers:
1. Calling to threaten power disconnection within an hour
Scammers will often threaten to turn off your power unless payment is made — generally in an hour. Often, the caller ID will even say they’re calling from SRP. This is a utility scam; do not pay or give out your personal information!
You can see your latest account information in My Account or the SRP Power app, and you can always call us directly to confirm. Before your power is disconnected, SRP will always send you one or more notices by mail or email.
2. Demanding immediate payment
There are many ways to make payments these days and scammers are taking advantage of that. The scammer will ask for payment using:
- A prepaid card like MoneyPak or Vanilla
- Cryptocurrency such as bitcoin
- Digital payment apps
- Direct transfer with your bank
SRP will never ask you to make an immediate payment with any of these methods.
5 secure ways to pay your bill is your guide to safely making your payments to SRP.
3. Showing up at your home and requesting access
Typically, we try to notify customers in advance that a crew will be working around their home. On occasion however, a crew member may request access to someone’s yard to reach equipment. SRP employees and contractors will identify themselves and the purpose of their visit.
If someone claiming to be from SRP shows up at your home, keep in mind that we do not request payment in person, and we never conduct door-to-door sales. Other ways to verify their identity are to look for an SRP:
If you’re still unsure, you can always call us at (602) 236-8888 to verify the person’s identity.
4. Phishing for your personal data via email
Scammers send phishing emails to try to get sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, financial information and credit card details. These emails may appear to be from SRP, but there are a few ways to tell if they are fake.
If you receive an email that you think may be a scam, be sure to look at the sender address and look for typos. If you fear an email might be an attempt to phish your data, don’t click any of the links in it! You can see your latest account information in My Account or the SRP Power app, and you can always call us directly to confirm.
5. Claiming to be sponsored or affiliated with SRP
SRP has learned of scammers pretending to be affiliated with our preferred solar installers program. While we do have partnerships with preferred residential solar installers, there are many scammers out there, and it’s important to stay safe.
If you are interested in finding out more about solar for your home, please call SRP’s Connected Home Team at (602) 236-4448. You will be given the name and number of three contractors who can help determine the best solar option for your home.
It can happen to anyone. Don’t fall victim to a scam!
Life is busy and anyone can get caught off guard. One family shared their unfortunate story in the hopes that other will learn to spot a scam before it’s too late.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, Utilities United Against Scams reminds us to:
- Slow down. Typically, scammers try to create chaos by rushing you through collecting your information or payments.
- Always verify. Scammers have been known to pose as utility company employees. Ask for a badge or call us to confirm.
- Stop before acting. Hesitation is a good thing. If you don’t feel safe or something seems off, rethink the situation.
When in doubt, remember that we are available 24/7, including on holidays. Don’t hesitate to call if you receive a suspicious call, email or visit to your home.
Let’s stop scams together.
Even if you dodge an attempted scam, call us immediately at (602) 236-8888. We can help get the word out to others before it’s too late.