Scam calls to Tacoma Public Utilities customers have increased in the past couple of weeks, and the utility wants to help ensure no one loses money.
Scammers have mainly targeted commercial customers, demanding they make an immediate payment with a prepaid card or risk having their service disconnected. Customers are often directed to purchase a Green Dot or Money Pak card.
“We sometimes make courtesy calls to remind customers that they have a payment due,” said Customer Services Manager Steve Hatcher. “We may offer customers the option of paying with a credit card, but we never say they must make an immediate payment with a prepaid card or we will disconnect their services.”
Tacoma Public Utilities has received reports from at least a half-dozen customers today alone who received scam calls. Customers have been asked to call (800) 791-0206 – a number not associated with the utility – to provide prepaid card information. If a customer falls for the scam, it is likely he or she will never get their money back.
What customers can do if they receive a scam call
• If you think someone is trying to scam you, check your account status at MyTPU.org/MyAccount or contact Tacoma Public Utilities.
• Remember TPU accepts traditional payment methods of cash, check, credit and debit cards. It is never necessary to buy a separate prepaid card to avoid disconnection.
• Never give your credit or debit card number or any other personal information to anyone without knowing their true identity.
• Remember that scammers can make it look like they’re calling or emailing from the utility when they are calling from somewhere else.
• Report prepaid card scammers to the utility and to the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. You should also report scammers to MoneyPak at www.moneypak.com.
Click on MoneyPak Help on the home page and then on the “What if I’m aware of a possible scam?” link.