Lafayette, La. (KLFY) — In light of recent reports, Lafayette Utilities System is alerting customers to scams being forced on its utility consumers.
According to LUS Spokesperson Alex Antonowitsch, phone calls are being made threatening to disconnect electric or water service unless a delinquent bill is paid.
He said the imposters are requesting immediate payment to them over the phone or to call an 800 number for payment.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, which works to prevent scams and unfair business practices, “Scammers can use computers to make it look like they’re calling from one place – when, in fact, they’re someplace else. If you get a call from someone telling you to make a payment via PayPal, or to buy a GreenDot card or a gift card, it’s probably a scam.”
Antonowitsch said LUS customers need to know the following signs of a scam:
* When a payment is past due, customers are sent friendly reminders via automated calls or mailed post cards.
* Before a bill status is discussed with a customer, account verification is ALWAYS required.
* When customers speak with a Customer Service Representative, they may be given the option to pay over the phone, but that process will NEVER be performed by a live person.
* The automated methods LUS provides for our customers to pay a bill would NEVER include methods of payment such as Paypal, Western Union, GreenDot or a gift card.
* If you get a call, email, text, or even a visit from someone telling you to make a utility bill payment, and you believe it could be a scam, contact LUS on the phone number that appears on your bill, describe what happened, and report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission and local law enforcement.