LINCOLN — Lincoln Electric System is proud to stand together with more than 100 energy, gas and water utilities as Utilities United Against Scams and observe Wednesday as the second annual Utility Scam Awareness Day. The day is part of UUAS’ advocacy and awareness campaign this week aimed at exposing scammers’ tactics and educating customers on how to protect themselves.
“Lincoln Electric System is proud to join utilities across North America helping to protect customers from predatory scammers,” said LES Vice President of Customer Services Lisa Hale. “LES will never call or show up at a customer’s property to demand immediate payment, and we want to help our customers identify scammer threats by educating them throughout the week.”
Most utility scams involve criminals posing as electric, gas or water provider employees — either in person or over the phone or internet — and demanding immediate payment via cash or reloadable debit cards, to prevent service disconnection. They can be very convincing, and often target those who are most vulnerable, including the elderly and non-native English speakers. However, with the right insight, customers can learn to avoid and report these predatory scams.
Customers who believe they have been targeted by utility scammers should:
- Hang up the phone or close the door, and call LES’ verified direct phone number: 402-475-4211.
- Do not give the caller or visitor a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card, a wire transfer or any other form of payment that may be difficult to trace.
- Ignore suspicious requests for personal information such as bank account numbers, usernames, passwords, credit card numbers or your Social Security number.
- Delete any emails from utilities that are not your service provider.
- Delete all suspicious emails that require immediate action to verify or demand personal information.
- Contact your local police through the non-emergency telephone number or your state attorney general’s office, or contact the FTC at FTCComplaintAssistant.gov.
To learn more about scams that may be active in your area, or if you have questions about the authenticity of communications from persons claiming to be utility representatives, please contact LES directly.
You can also learn more about the Utilities United Against Scams effort, including further tips and resources to help spot and avoid utility scams, at UtilitiesUnited.org or by following LES on Facebook and Twitter.