Scammers target all utility customers – residential and commercial. They’ve figured out ways to duplicate or ‘spoof’ our logo and contact information, perfected their impersonation skills and are becoming increasingly convincing. The good news is that there are tell-tale signs of a scam attempt.
Late payment / Disconnect scams
Scammers call and even appear at your door demanding immediate payment for a past due bill. Often times, they threaten to disconnect service within the hour.
If you’re at risk of disconnection, we’ll send you two written notifications by mail and attempt to reach you by phone, prior to the date of disruption. If you receive a high-pressure call demanding urgent payment, hang up and contact us directly to verify the status of your account. If someone arrives at your door, do not let them inside. Instead, ask to see their Avista photo ID or call us to verify their identity.
Prepaid card / Money transfer scams
Scammers demand payment via prepaid debit cards, such as Green Dot or Money Pak. Money transfer services, such as Money Gram or Western Union, are also common requests. Victims are instructed to share card or transfer information, granting scammers access to the funds.
Don’t be fooled by this frequent scam. Avista offers a variety of payment options and would never require payment by prepaid card or money transfer. Call us to discuss your payment needs and preferences.
Email / Text message scams
Scammers spoof Avista branding to send fake bills and messages. One common scheme involves messaging about a federal program to help pay customer utility bills.
The ‘program’ these scams reference does not exist. Scammers gather personal information from victims and no funding is ever applied to utility accounts. For information on financial help, give us a call and we’ll be happy to refer you to your local energy assistance agency. Learn more about our assistance programs.
Knowing what to watch out for and what steps to take when you feel uneasy will help protect you from fraud. We want you to be safe and are here to answer any questions you may have about your account and our services. Call us at (800)227-9187 or sign into your online account to verify your service.