Puget Sound Energy reports recent spike in customer phone scam

Puget Sound Energy, which provides natural gas service to Edmonds, is warning of a recent spike in a phone scam that targets residents and small businesses.

Since the start of July, Puget Sound Energy has received nearly 200 reports of scammers trying to get money from customers, with six of those customers paying the thieves’ demands, the utility said in an email Friday, July 21.

“Scammers use sophisticated phone technology to alter Caller ID systems so it appears a call is coming from PSE,” the email said. “The scammer warns that PSE will disconnect the customer’s energy service within an hour if the customer fails to make a payment through a prepaid money card or transfer. The long-running scam targets utility consumers across the country.

PSE advises customers to stay informed to protect themselves from fraud. Scammers can be threatening and clever in using new, deceptive tactics.

What to do and what to know about the scams:

– PSE never asks or requires customers who have delinquent accounts to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.

– PSE customers receive several communications related to bill payment before any disruption in service.

– When it comes to bill payment calls, PSE’s vendors do not call after noon on Saturdays and do not make any calls on Sundays; any calls during those periods are definite red flags.

– Customers with concerns about a call to pay their bill should hang up and contact PSE directly at 1-888-225-5773.

– PSE urges customers to report suspicious, fraudulent calls and emails to the Washington Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission.

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