Scam Alert

June 25, 2014

Consumer Warning:

Scammers Mimic Electric Companies, Threaten to Cut Electricity During Summer Heat to Get Your Personal Financial Information
Consumers in doubt should call electric companies directly to verify account status; avoid giving financial or personal information to unsolicited callers or emailers

AUSTIN — In response to a scam affecting consumers cross Texas, members of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas (AECT) are warning consumers of unsolicited calls and emails that threaten to cut off electricity to consumers who don’t share personal information like bank accounts or Social Security numbers.

The scammers do not have the ability to cut electric service, but consumers may be more vulnerable to the possibility of service interruptions during the summer, when the prospect of losing electric service becomes more serious due to the heat.

“Service reliability is vital in the electric industry, and electric companies take their obligations to their customers seriously,” said John Fainter, president and CEO of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas. “We regard any efforts to undermine our reputations as significant threats. Law enforcement officials, electric companies and consumer organizations are diligently investigating these scams, and want to alert customers to stay vigilant this summer and beyond.”

Reminders for consumers:

  • Electricity customers should never provide Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or bank account information to anyone who requests them during unsolicited phone calls, from emails, etc.
  • If you are ever in doubt about a call concerning your electricity account status, especially one that threatens to disconnect your service, hang up and call the number on your electric bill to check your account status yourself.
  • Other red flags include a threat that your service may be terminated suddenly when you haven’t received any other warnings, or being contacted by a company that doesn’t normally send you electric bills.