KISSIMMEE, Fla., November 16, 2016 – Kissimmee Utility Authority joins fellow electric companies across the nation today to observe the inaugural Utilities United Against Scams Day. The purpose of the observance is to expose the tactics used by scammers to steal money from utility customers and educating customers about how to protect themselves.
Scams are more profitable than ever before, robbing people of billions of dollars a year. Over 25 million Americans have been victimized by some type of consumer fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Most utility scams involve criminals posing as utility employees—either in person or over the phone or internet—and demanding immediate payment via cash or reloadable debit cards, supposedly to prevent service disconnection. These criminals can be very convincing, and often target those who are most vulnerable, including the elderly and non-native English speakers. However, with the right information, customers can learn to avoid and report these predatory scams.
KUA offers these tips to avoid falling victim to a utility scam:
- If contacted by a suspicious individual representing KUA, hang up the phone or close the door, and call the utility’s direct phone number at (407) 933-7777 to confirm an identity. Representatives from KUA always carry proper identification.
- Do not give a caller or visitor cash, a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card, a wire transfer or any other form of payment that may be difficult to trace.
- Ignore suspicious requests for personal information such as bank account numbers, user names and passwords, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers.
- Delete any emails from utilities that are not your service provider.
- Delete all suspicious emails that require immediate action to verify or demand personal 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 the utility and local law enforcement.
UUASD is a collaborative effort among the electric, gas, and water utility industries throughout the country, to help prevent utility service fraud through education, awareness, and customer advocacy initiatives. A primary goal of this collective effort is to help customers learn how to identify and avoid utility-related scams.
Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility powering 70,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.