Utility scams, often referred to as imposter scams, cost American consumers $2.3 billion in 2021**. It is more important than ever for customers to be vigilant and know what steps to take to prevent themselves or their families from falling victim.
Atlanta Gas Light is joining 150 U.S. and Canadian energy companies marking November 16, 2022, as Utility Scam Awareness Day. The purpose is to raise awareness of and help educate customers on the tactics used by scammers. Many natural gas, electric and water customers throughout the country are being targeted by impostor utility scams each day.
“The first step in protecting our customers from a scam is making them aware of the common tactics that scammers use,” said Pedro Cherry, Atlanta Gas Light president and CEO. “We’re partnering with energy companies across the country to educate our communities about this important issue.”
In recent years, scammers have gotten deceptively creative with increased calls, texts, emails and in-person tactics, contacting electric and gas customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection.
Atlanta Gas Light strongly encourages customers to stay vigilant of potential scam activity such as:
• Threats to disconnect their natural gas service if payment is not made
• Requests that payments be made from a single method, such as a debit card, prepaid card, checking account, cryptocurrency or to send funds via a mobile app to make a bill payment
• Claims they have overpaid, and their bank account or credit card number is needed for a refund
• Requests to vacate their home so that a meter or other natural gas equipment can be replaced
• Suggestions through social media that their bill will be covered by a charity after they make a partial payment by way of a wire transfer
Atlanta Gas Light also takes proactive measures to protect customers.
• The company will never contact them regarding their natural gas bill. While Atlanta Gas Light maintains the region’s pipeline infrastructure, responds to emergencies and reads meters every month, it does not bill customers directly. Only certified natural gas marketers in Georgia sell natural gas to customers and subsequently bill these customers for their natural gas use.
• Atlanta Gas Light employees and contractors who visit customer homes or businesses will have Atlanta Gas Light identification.
• Customers have the option of signing up to receive the company’s Keep Me Informed appointment status text messages can access a photo of the technician assigned to perform work at their property.
Customers who suspect or experience fraud should hang up, delete the email or shut the door, then immediately contact local authorities.
For more information, visit atlantagaslight.com/fraudprotection.
**Source: Federal Trade Commission