November 7, 2014
The Eugene Water & Electric Board is warning customers to be wary of a new type of phone scam that is targeting utility customers throughout the Northwest.
In this latest scam, thieves are using sophisticated deceptive tactics that make it appear to Caller ID systems that the scam call is coming from the utility, when it is not. If customers receive such a call during normal business hours, hang up and instead call EWEB at 541-685-7000 and follow the prompts to Customer Service. EWEB does not operate its call center during evenings and weekends.
Scammers call utility customers demanding payment for overdue bills and also make attempts to gather personal information. The thief advises the customer to make a payment immediately over the phone by credit card or by going to a local store to purchase a pre-paid card and then calling back on a special toll-free number.
EWEB does not take payments over the phone with customer service representatives. EWEB’s payment options include our automated phone payment system, our online or e-billing system, payment by mail and at pay stations located around Eugene. In addition, when EWEB contacts a customer, the representative will already have the customer's account number on hand. Even then, if you are contacted by phone and have any concerns about the validity of the call, it is always appropriate to let the caller know you prefer to call them back at the utility's general number, 541-685-7000.
Here are some additional tips for avoiding scams:
Watch for the phone number. EWEB DOES NOT use an 866 number.
Be suspicious of emails and calls that claim you have a past due balance and need to make a payment or your water or electric service will be shut off.
Customers will receive a past due bill notice and a door hanger before EWEB calls regarding late payments. A phone call will not be the first notice customers receive of a past due payment.
Follow the Oregon Department of Justice's (DOJ) Twitter account to receive scam alerts, @oregonscamalert.
Report the call to the State of Oregon Attorney General’s office by calling 877-877-9392 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or by emailing [email protected]
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