SPOKANE – Avista customers throughout its Washington and Idaho service territory are the current target of utility scammers. Scammers typically move quickly from region to region, looking to trick as many people as possible into complying with their demands, for financial gain.
Hundreds of customers, both residential and commercial, have reported scams this week. The majority of scam attempts are occurring via phone.
Avista urges customers to be on alert and to continue to report any suspicious requests or interactions with anyone who may be impersonating the company.
Red flags for scam activity:
-Harsh threatening language demanding immediate payment for an overdue bill
-Threats of same-day service disconnection
-Inability of the caller to provide specific customer account activity details
-Instruction for customer to purchase a prepaid debit, credit or gift card – often Green Dot or Money Pak
-Instruction for customer to call back and provide the prepaid card details – which activates the funds and grants the scammer access to them
-Instruction for customer to call any phone number other than Avista’s customer service line back
-Unexpected visitor demanding payment and using harsh language to threaten service disconnection
How to protect yourself:
-Do not provide any personal or financial information to any unknown person or company
-Hang up on suspicious callers and call Avista directly to verify the actual status of your account and service – including calls that appear to be from Avista, as spoofing technology can make numbers appear legitimate
-Do not allow anyone into your home if you do not know them or do not have an appointment with them
-Ask to see the mandatory Avista photo ID badge that all Avista employees and contractors carry
-Call Avista directly to verify the identity of anyone appearing at your door claiming to represent our company
Visit Avista’s website at myavista.com/scams for additional tips on how to avoid falling victim to a scam. If something feels odd, it probably is. Customers should call Avista directly at 800-227-9187 to confirm the actual status of their service and account, as well as any planned utility activity on their property.