MECHANICSBURG, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pennsylvania American Water will join Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) to recognize the fifth annual Utility Scam Awareness Day on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Utility Scam Awareness Day is part of the week-long International Scam Awareness Week, an advocacy and awareness campaign focused on educating customers and exposing the tactics used by scammers.
“The health and safety of our customers and employees are paramount to everything we do. Our customers should know that unless there is an emergency, our employees rarely show up at their home without an appointment,” said Pennsylvania American Water President Mike Doran. “If someone comes to your door claiming to be from a local utility and you are not expecting them, do not let them inside without seeing proper official company identification with their photo and company logo on it.”
UUAS, a consortium of more than 145 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, continues to create awareness of common scams and new scam tactics being used during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its work and with the help of customer reporting, UUAS has succeeded in removing from operation nearly 9,500 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers.
“It is no surprise that scammers have been seeking to exploit the heightened anxiety of people coping with the pandemic,” said UUAS Founder and Executive Committee Chairman Jared Lawrence. “I am proud to report that UUAS’ education efforts and utilities’ well-publicized customer testimonials have prevented a drastic increase in victims. However, the relentless attempts by these criminals make it clear that we must continue to actively work to protect our customers and to keep scammers from casting confusion on our pandemic recovery messages.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers have increased calls, texts, emails, and in-person tactics and are contacting utility customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection. At present, Pennsylvania American Water continues to suspend billing-related service shutoffs as it continues to help customers and communities through this public health emergency.
Pennsylvania American Water reminds customers that its service personnel wear uniforms, drive company-branded vehicles, and wear photo identification badges with the company’s logo. Residents are urged to take the time to ask for and examine the photo identification badge whenever an individual claiming to be a utility worker arrives at their home or business. Pennsylvania American Water also does not accept payment at a customer’s house. Customers with any suspicions should call 9-1-1, or Pennsylvania American Water’s customer service center at 1-800-565-7292.
“Customers need to be on high alert as we continue to see impostor utility scams rise across North America,” said UUAS Executive Director Monica Martinez. “Scammers demand money or personal information on the spot—usually with threatening language—and indicate that service will be disconnected immediately. Anyone and everyone, from senior households to small business owners, is at risk of being targeted.”
Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.4 million people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.