LUBBOCK, Texas – With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, many are excited for their holiday vacations. Unfortunately, it seems scammers don’t take days off.
“This is the season where scammers usually increase their want to get more money out of people,” said Ed Espinoza with Atmos Energy’s West Texas division.
On Wednesday, Atmos Energy joined Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) for National Utility Scam Awareness Day with hopes of exposing fraudulent behavior.
“We just want to make sure that our customers are educated and that we bring focus and awareness on making sure that you’re not scammed,” Espinoza said.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2022, Americans lost $660 million to imposters claiming to be affiliated with well-known companies.
“They may give you a good spiel of what to expect and demand payment probably telling you that you have a past due amount on your bill, and then try and collect that money from you at the door,” Espinoza said. “We do not do that. No other utility company does that.”
Espinoza said to pay attention to the way the person presents themselves, and if you’re ever suspicious, call the utility company before letting them in.
“Be very aware of who you speak with and who comes to your door,” Espinoza said. “All utilities will come with their identification and company vehicle and let you know who they are.”
While advances in technology allow these scams to look more believable, UUAS said to check your latest bill to verify the company’s correct contact information. The consortium also emphasized that utility companies will never demand immediate payment in person and they don’t accept prepaid cards, cryptocurrency or mobile payment apps.