VT Utilities Warn Customers to Be on Alert for Phone Scams
16 November 2016
New Wave of Disconnection Scams Targeting Customers
Colchester, VT – Today is national Utilities United Against Scams Day, when utilities across the country warn customers about bill payment phone scams. Vermont’s three largest utilities are joining together to alert customers that scammers regularly make calls threatening disconnection if payment is not made immediately, and those calls have increased recently. One customer ran into GMP’s office today after receiving such a call, alarmed that his restaurant might be disconnected while serving lunch.
“We would never make a call threatening immediate disconnection if credit card information is not given immediately,” said Dorothy Schnure, spokesperson for Green Mountain Power. “We work with customers who are having difficulty paying a bill. If a customer has any doubt about the legitimacy of a call, we encourage them to hang up and call our listed number for any questions about their account status.”
Vermont’s utilities follow very clear state rules when working with customers about paying past due bills and do not demand credit card information or alternate payment mechanisms from a customer for any purpose. If customers receive any call with such a demand they should follow these steps:
- Do not provide payment or any other personal information;
- Do not engage with the caller;
- Immediately hang up;
- Do not call back the number; and
- Call your utility’s customer service number (GMP 888-835-4672, BED 802-865-7300, VEC 802-635-2331) to report the occurrence and to share any information you are able to provide, including name of the caller, caller’s phone number, and substance of the call.
Further, customers receiving such a call are encouraged to report this scam by contacting the Vermont Attorney General’s Office Consumer Assistance Program at 800.649.2424 (in-state only) or 802.656.3183 (from out of state numbers) or by visiting www.uvm.edu/consumer
. Also, to further protect yourself against similar scams, please visit that same website address to read about similar past scams.
Dorothy Schnure, Green Mountain Power, 802-655-8418
Mike Kanarick, Burlington Electric Department, 802-735-7962
Andrea Cohen, Vermont Electric Cooperative, 802-696-9036