Avista warns of ongoing phone scams
SPOKANE, Wash. — Avista is once again asking customers to be alert for anyone pretending to be a representative from the power company.
Avista is telling their customers to hang up the phone if the caller is asking for immediate payment or confidential information.
Avista has tips for recognizing red flags as well as ways customers can protect themselves.
Red flags for scam activity:
– The scammer becomes angry and tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made – usually within an hour.
– The scammer instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a utility payment.
– The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.
How to protect yourself:
– Avista never asks or requires a customer to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
– Customers with a past due account receive an advance disconnection notification with the regular monthly billing – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
– If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police then Avista. Never return a call to the phone number the scammers provide.
– Customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during the call should contact local authorities, and then call Avista’s customer service at (800) 227-9187. The number is listed on Avista’s monthly bill.
– Some scammers have duplicated Avista’s automated phone greeting, so when customers return a call to the phone number provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate Avista phone number. Some of these criminals also use caller ID spoofing to replicate Avista’s customer service number.
– Customers can call Avista at (800) 227-9187 to verify if the phone call was actually from Avista.
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