Be on alert to a national phone scam targeting utility customers that is currently happening in our area. Individuals misrepresenting themselves as Avista employees are calling customers threatening to turn off electric and gas service if payment is not made to them that day.
How it works:
- A caller identifying him or herself as an Avista employee tells customers that their account is past due or there is problem with their account.
- Your caller ID may show that the call is coming from Avista even if it is not. This is called caller ID spoofing.
- Customers are told they must purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak or go to a retail location and make a same day payment to avoid a disconnection of service that day.
- Customers are told to use cash to put money onto the card, and then provide the number on the card to the person who called them. At that point, your funds are going to the scammer, not where you thought.
What to do if you get a call:
When Avista makes an outbound phone call to customers, the caller ID will identify the call as coming from Avista. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be an Avista representative demanding immediate payment, using high pressure tactics or asking for your confidential information, end the call without providing any information and phone us at (800) 227-9187. That’s our customer service number, which is also located on your Avista bill.
As a precaution, you should shred your Avista bill to protect your private account information which includes your payment due date, amount of payment due and account number.
Also be alert to door-to-door sales personnel who claim to represent Avista and our programs. Any Avista employee or authorized contractor will have in their possession their Avista photo identification badge. Ask to see it if you are in doubt. If they don’t have identification, you can ask them to leave. Authorized contractors also have vehicle signs stating they are under contract to Avista and will have Avista program material.
Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics to let someone into your home or to provide confidential information over the phone. Customers should report it to local law enforcement if they believe they have been the target of a scam.