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Fraudulent utility scams are back

IID wishes to alert customers that fraudulent scams are being reported by utility consumers in the district’s service area.

Unscrupulous individuals are posing as utility employees in an attempt to contact customers—over the phone, in person and through email—threatening to turn off their electricity if the customer does not immediately pay or provide financial information.

If you are contacted by anyone who threatens something like this, it is likely fraudulent activity. IID does not contact residential customers and ask for a pre-paid credit card over the phone. If your electric account is delinquent, IID will notify you—in writing—before your service is shut-off for non-payment. IID will, on occasion, contact business customers over the phone; however, the district will not ask you to purchase apre-paid credit card to make a payment.

Customers should not provide any financial information by phone unless they have initiated the conversation.

If you receive a phone call that makes you feel uncomfortable, IID encourages you to call the district directly at 1-800-303-7756. You can speak with a representative about your account and verify if IID was attempting to contact you. Some scammers will call customers with a similar phone number, or from a line that has been masked to look like it is from IID. Do not be fooled by these imposters.

To protect your identity and avoid being the victim of fraud, IID advises customers to not provide financial information over the phone, email or in any other fashion, unless the customer is the one who initiates the conversation.

Tips to avoid fraud
• Ask who’s calling and why. Telemarketers must tell you it’s a sales call, the name of the seller and what they’re selling before they make their pitch. If they don’t, say “no thanks,” and get off the phone.
• Consider why are you are being asked to “confirm” your information. Some callers have your billing information before they call you. They’re trying to get you to say “okay” so they can claim you approved a charge.
• Limit your calls. Place your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry at 1-888-382-1222.
• Do not share personal information. This especially goes for your bank or credit card number, social security number, address or Medicare number.
• Get it in writing. Before you make a purchase or donation over the phone, ask the caller to send you written material. If they do not have your address, do not give it to them.
• Talk it over. Do not agree to buy anything, donate or subscribe to any service without talking it over with someone you know and trust.
• Report it. Reporting fraudulent callers to the appropriate law enforcement authorities is critical. To report phone fraud, visit FTC.gov or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

As of yesterday, the updates were:

Most of the fraud is being reported by commercial businesses, but residential customers are being hit too.

The scammers have gotten so sophisticated that they are providing the victim a phone number to call them back. When the victim calls the number that the scammers provide, it may sound like IID’s answering system – but it is not IID’s system.

The only way to protect yourself is to be sure to call the legitimate IID numbers directly yourself. IID’s toll-free number is 1-800-303-7756.

The scammers are also demanding the victims pay immediately with a pre-paid credit card.

If you get a call like this and don’t feel comfortable, simply call IID directly to check on your account.

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