Bill Payment Scam Targets Utility Customers

Placeholder image

KISSIMMEE, Fla., September 9, 2014 – Kissimmee Utility Authority is warning its customers to beware of the latest episode of bill payment scams.

Over the past 24 hours, the utility has received more than two dozen reports from customers who have been contacted by phone by individuals claiming to be from “KUA Collections” and advising of a past due balance on their utility bill. The scam appears to target residential customers in the Kissimmee area.

Even though these customers are not behind on their payments, the scammers warn that service will be shut off immediately unless the customer does one of the following:

• purchases a reloadable debit card (GreenDot) or gift card to make an immediate payment; or
• provides bank account or debit card information.

Threats of immediate disconnection are generally a sign that customers have been contacted by a scam artist. Additionally, these scammers use “spoofing” software that lets them falsely display the name and phone number of the utility on the customer’s caller ID.

KUA provides a mailed past-due notice and an automated reminder call before terminating service, but never demands direct payment over the telephone. If customers wish, they can arrange for a payment by check, credit card or debit card if they speak directly to a customer service representative.

KUA offers these tips to avoid falling victim to a utility scam:

* Never provide your Social Security Number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking.
* If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
* Always think safety first. Do not give in to high-pressure tactics over the phone or in person for information.

Customers approached for this type of personal information, or who believe they may be a victim of a scam, should report the incident to law enforcement.

Founded in 1901, KUA (http://kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility powering 67,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.

# # #

Contact: Chris M. Gent
(321) 624-3383