APS cautions against utility scams during national consumer protection week
Imposters demand money, threaten to shut off power or falsely claim to sell products in partnership with APS
PHOENIX – Arizona Public Service (APS) joins Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) to recognize National Consumer Protection Week, which aims to educate customers on how they can guard against becoming victims of impostor utility scams.
As a member of UUAS—a consortium of 146 U.S. and Canadian electric, water and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations—APS works with regulators, law enforcement and telecommunications and industry partners to stop scams targeting utility customers.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers have increased calls, texts, emails and in-person tactics, and they continue to threaten utility customers with service disconnection if payment is not received within the hour. APS will never send only a single notification to a customer of a service disconnection, demand immediate payment, and we will never ask customers to make payments with a prepaid debit card, gift card, any form of cryptocurrency, or third-party digital payment mobile applications. Also, if anyone comes to a customer’s door or through neighborhoods claiming to collect bill payments on APS’s behalf, this is a scam. Legitimate APS representatives who visit neighborhoods and customer sites to perform work carry ID and cannot take payment from customers.
Other in-person scams include predatory or fraudulent door-to-door sales practices by people claiming to be with or in partnership with APS or about state energy policies or incentives that just do not exist. For example, APS does not sell or lease solar systems and is currently not in partnership with any solar installers to offer special deals or incentives by phone or door-to-door. See frequently asked questions about going solar.
“Even in the middle of a pandemic that is affecting everyone and causing economic hardship for many, we still are dealing with scammers who are preying on families and small businesses,” said UUAS Executive Director Monica Martinez. “UUAS is working directly with utility companies to help educate customers so they can be aware of and avoid utility scams during these trying times.”
“Unfortunately, scammers target APS customers in many forms, including phone calls, emails and going door-to-door,” said Monica Whiting, Vice President, APS Customer Experience and Communications. “If in doubt about whether something is fraudulent, we encourage customers to hang up the phone, delete the suspicious email or text, or shut the door. You can contact the APS Customer Care Center to verify using the phone number on your bill or on aps.com. Do not use a number provided by the person in question. We are here to help our customers, and this includes providing tips on how to avoid common scams and report them at aps.com/scams.”
With the help of customer reporting, UUAS has succeeded in taking out of operation more than 10,000 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers. Staying aware of what scams look and sound like is an important part of how consumers can protect themselves and report fraud to help protect others.
Visit utilitiesunited.org and the Federal Trade Commission’s website for more information on how customers can protect their personal information and themselves from impostor utility scams.
APS serves nearly 1.3 million homes and businesses in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is a leader in delivering affordable, clean and reliable energy in the Southwest. The company is committed to serving customers with 100% clean power by 2050. As owner and operator of Palo Verde Generating Station, the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free electricity, and with one of the country’s most substantial renewable energy portfolios, APS’s current energy mix is 50% clean. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).
Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) is a consortium of 146 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities (and their respective trade associations). UUAS is dedicated to combating impostor utility scams by providing a forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best practices, in addition to working together to implement initiatives to inform and protect customers.