Beware of Scams
Scams are becoming more common, and scammers are getting creative. That's why we want you to have information to help make sure you don't become a victim of common scams.
A caller identifies themselves as being from Avista, warning customers that their account is past due or that there is a problem with their account and an immediate payment is needed. The caller uses high pressure tactics to tell you your power will be disconnected immediately if a payment is not made. You may be directed to transfer funds electronically, sometimes through money wiring systems or pre-paid cards.
These pre-paid cards have unique serial numbers that the scammer uses to transfer and steal the funds. You may also be asked by a scammer to make a same-day payment at a retail location to avoid disconnection.
Spoofing technology can show that the call is coming from Avista when the call is actually from a scammer, so be alert to aggressive tactics. If the call begins with an area code rather than 800, be suspicious, but scammers can also use phone numbers beginning with 800.
Scammers can easily lift our logo from online and create emails that look like they are from Avista, so if you do not recognize the sender's email address, take the following precautions:
- Do not open an unfamiliar email as it may include malicious links that go to a compromised website hosting malware.
- Do not respond to the request.
- Do not click on any links.
- Do not open any attachments.
- Do not provide any personal information.
Be alert to anyone who shows up at your home and uses high pressure tactics to demand immediate payment to avoid having your service disconnected. Scammers can try to appear legitimate by carrying a walkie-talkie and wearing a hard hat and orange vest. Avista employees and our authorized contractors, however, all carry an Avista photo ID badge.
If you suspect anything, always ask to see the person’s Avista badge. You can also call us at (800) 227-9187 to verify that person’s identity. In most cases, scammers will quickly depart if you tell them you’re going to do so. You should also ask to see the photo ID badge of anyone who claims to be at your home for an Avista service call. If you do not have a scheduled appointment with us, or you doubt the identification of the person, do not let them into your home.
If anyone visits your home or property without proper identification, you can ask that person to leave. Our authorized contractors will have vehicle signs showing they are under contract with us and will carry Avista program materials.
- 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.
- The scammer instructs you 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. Avista never asks for or requires a purchase of pre-paid debit card to avoid disconnection.
- The scammer asks you for the pre-paid card's receipt number and PIN, which grants instant access to the card's funds.
- The scammer becomes angry and says your account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn't made - usually within an hour.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be an Avista representative demanding immediate payment, using high pressure tactics, or asking for your confidential information, end the call without providing any information and note the phone number, then call us at (800) 227-9187. We work to disconnect the phone numbers of scammers.
If you are ever suspicious about any call or communication, feel free to check in with us at (800) 227-9187. Our Customer Service Representatives are available to verify if the contact is actually coming from Avista.