APS joins National Consumer Protection Week to alert customers to scams

Imposters demand money, threaten to shut off power

PHOENIX – During National Consumer Protection Week, APS is reminding customers of the tricks scammers use to con victims out of thousands of dollars.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear how very convincing scammers threaten customers,” said Stacy Derstine, APS Vice President, Customer Service and Chief Customer Officer. “They often target those who are most vulnerable, including senior citizens, low-income communities and small business owners during busy customer service hours, when they need their electric service the most.”

APS is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams collaborative of more than 100 electric, natural gas and water utility companies across the U.S. and Canada. Members work with regulators, law enforcement and telecommunications partners to help stop scams targeting consumers.

Signs of Potential Scam Activity:
• Threat to disconnect: Scammers often contact customers claiming their utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected unless a payment is made right away – usually within an hour or less.
• Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct customers to call them back after they purchase a prepaid card such as Green Dot, MoneyPak and Vanilla – widely available at retail stores – in order to make a payment by phone to prevent disconnection.
• Request for prepaid card: When the customer calls back, the scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds, and the victim’s money is gone.

"​APS encourages any customers targeted by scammers to report the incident to local law enforcement, as well as APS."

How Customers Can Protect Themselves:
• Never purchase a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection. APS never requires payment via a prepaid card or specifies the method of payment customers should use. • If someone threatens immediate disconnection of service, hang up the phone, delete the email or shut the door. Customers with delinquent accounts receive advance disconnect notification, never a single notification one hour or less before disconnection.
• If there is ever a question about the validity of an email, website or person claiming to be an APS representative, call the APS Customer Care Center immediately at (602) 371-7171 to verify this information. Do not use a phone number the scammer provides.
• The only valid phone numbers for the APS Customer Care Center are listed on customer bills and aps.com.
• Never share personal information or credit card information with an unverified source.
• Customers should call 911 if they ever feel they are in physical danger.

APS encourages any customers targeted by scammers to report the incident to local law enforcement, as well as APS at (602) 371-7171 or (800) 240-2014 (outside metro-Phoenix) and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office at (602) 542-5763.

APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is the Southwest’s foremost producer of clean, safe and reliable electricity. Using a balanced energy mix that is nearly 50 percent carbon-free, APS has one of the country’s cleanest energy portfolios, including both Palo Verde Generating Station and renewable energy. The company is also a proven leader in introducing technology and services that offer customers choice and control over their energy consumption. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).

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