Pennsylvania American Water Steps up Customer Education on Impostor Utility Scams

Company gears up for National Utility Scam Awareness Week on November
13-17

HERSHEY, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#StopScams–Pennsylvania American Water today announced efforts to stand with its
fellow water, electric and natural gas utilities and respective trade
associations in support of Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a
consortium of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian utilities. UUAS will
observe the second annual Utility Scam Awareness Day, on Wednesday,
November 15, as part of a weeklong advocacy and awareness campaign,
November 13–17. Pennsylvania American Water joined UUAS to help expose
the tactics scammers use to steal from utility customers and educate
customers on how to protect themselves.

Many water, electric and natural gas customers throughout the country
are being targeted by impostor utility scams each day. Scammers
typically use phone, in-person, and online tactics to target customers.
Scammers pose as water, electric or natural gas company employees and
sometimes threaten that customers’ services will be shut off if they
fail to make an immediate payment.

Scammers can be very convincing and often target those who are most
vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income communities. They
also aim their scams at small business owners during busy customer
service hours. However, with the right information, customers can learn
to detect and report these predatory scams.

“Impostor utility scams can be highly profitable to scammers and
financially detrimental to consumers,” said UUAS Executive Director and
former Texas Utility Consumer Advocate Sheri Givens. “To prevent future
crimes, it is important to educate community leaders and consumers on
how to spot, avoid, and report scams.”

“It is extremely rare for a utility employee to show up at a customer’s
home without an appointment. However, if someone comes to your door
claiming to be from the local utility and you are not expecting them, do
not let them inside without proper photo identification,” said
Pennsylvania American Water Vice President of Operations Jimmy Sheridan.

How Customers Can Protect Themselves:

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. Customers are urged to
take time to examine the photo identification tag whenever a
Pennsylvania American Water employee arrives at their home or business.
The company does not accept payment at a customer’s house or business.
Residents with any suspicions about individuals claiming to be utility
workers should call 9-1-1, or Pennsylvania American Water’s customer
service center at 1-800-565-7292.

If customers suspect someone is trying to scam them, they should hang
up, delete the email, or shut the door. They should then call their
utility company at the number on their monthly bill or the company’s
website, not the phone number the scammer provides. If customers ever
feel that they are in physical danger, they should call 9-1-1.

Signs of Potential Scam Activity:

  • Threat to disconnect: Scammers might aggressively tell the
    customer his or her utility bill is past due and service will be
    disconnected if a payment is not made – usually within less than an
    hour.
  • Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the
    customer to purchase a prepaid card – widely available at retail
    stores – then call them back supposedly to make a bill payment to his
    or her utility company.

UUAS is dedicated to combating impostor utility scams by providing a
forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best
practices, in addition to working together to implement initiatives to
inform and protect customers. Visit www.utilitiesunited.org
for more information and tips about how customers can protect
themselves from scams or follow along on social media: Twitter @U_U_A_S
and Facebook @UtilitiesUnited

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 2.3 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 an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More
information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.

Contacts

Pennsylvania American Water
Western Pennsylvania:
Gary Lobaugh
T:
724.873.3674
M: 724.944.5148
gary.lobaugh@amwater.com
or
Eastern/Central
Pennsylvania:
Terry Maenza
T: 610.670.7789 ext. 1009
M:
610.849.6484
terry.maenza@amwater.com