Scammers Target Utility Customers by Phone, Email and In-Person Visits

As temperatures continue to drop and the importance of keeping your home warm rises, scammers are taking full advantage of the situation by targeting utility customers; threatening to shutoff power unless payment is made to a fraudulent bill collector.

Image of fraud alert sign.As temperatures continue to drop and the importance of keeping your home warm rises, scammers are taking full advantage of the situation by targeting utility customers; threatening to shutoff power unless payment is made to a fraudulent bill collector.

Seattle City Light is receiving 25 to 30 reports per week from customers targeted by such scams, often some of Seattle’s most vulnerable residents. Scammers commonly target non-English speaking individuals, elderly and small business owners. They use phone calls, email, even home visits, posing as Seattle City Light employees. In the scam, they demanding the customer’s financial and personal information in addition to payment with a pre-paid credit card (MoneyPak/GreenDot) or else the customer will face an immediate shutoff of service.

Seattle City Light does not call, email or visit customers demanding immediate payment to avoid shutoffs. Anyone who falls behind on payments will receive at least two written notifications before the shutoff process starts.

Additionally, City Light employees will never need to enter your home to conduct any kind of test. If someone claiming to be from City Light approaches you at home and asks for personal or financial information, requests to enter your home, or cannot provide you with employee identification, immediately shut your door, secure your home and call 911.

If a customer suspects a scam attempt or has any questions regarding their bill, City Light urges them to call a customer service representative at (206) 684-3000.

City Light is taking a proactive approach toward stopping scams through its “Spot It, Report it, Stop it,” scam prevention campaign. To learn more about how you can end scams, please visit: www.seattle.gov/light/EndScams. The website offers various resources for customers to protect themselves and their family and friends from scams.

About Seattle City Light
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.