PUCO warns of utility payment scam
Customers threatened with termination of service if they don’t pay bills immediately
COLUMBUS, OHIO (Oct. 9, 2014) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is warning utility customers to beware of a payment scam that has surfaced across the state over the past several weeks.
The scam is targeting particularly electric and natural gas utility customers, both residential and small business. A caller claiming to represent the utility informs the customer that they owe money from their past bill and must pay immediately or face termination of service. Customers are instructed to purchase a pre-paid debit card and then call a toll free number to transfer the money.
Most utilities do not ask for pre-paid debit cards for payment and provide ample time for customers to make a payment before service is terminated. Customers having questions about their account should call the appropriate utility. A listing of PUCO regulated utility company customer service numbers can be found here. Customers believing they have been a victim of payment fraud are encouraged to contact their local authorities as well.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.
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