Arizona Public Service (APS) joined other utilities last week for the first ever Utilities United Against Scams Day to warn customers about the continued threat of consumer scams.
Gas, electric and water utilities across the nation took part in the Nov. 16 event and will continue to remind their customers to be wary of suspicious calls or visits.
“APS customers are often targeted by criminals looking to take advantage of our fundamental need for electricity to power our lives,” Stacy Derstine, APS vice president of customer service and the chief customer officer, said. “These criminals can be very convincing and often target those who are most vulnerable, including small-business owners, seniors and non-native English speakers.”
Most utility scams involve criminals posing as employees of the utility, either in-person, over the phone or online, who demand immediate payment via cash, wire transfers or reloadable debit cards, These people also threaten to disconnect the customer’s service.
Always decline to pay any caller or visitor claiming to be an APS representative, APS said. Some even bring an intermediary into the conversation to help execute the transaction. Hang up on such callers or close the door on such suspicious visitors, then call the APS customer service office at 602-371-7171. Ignore suspicious requests for personal information, including bank account or credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, or even Social Security numbers. You can also contact your local police over suspicious in-person visits, or make complaints to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.
“APS works with local and national law enforcement to monitor, track and, when possible, prosecute those responsible for committing these types of crimes against our customers,” Bob Parrish, director of enterprise security for APS, said.