Avista Corp. customers throughout its Washington service area are being targeted by scammers, according to the Spokane-based utility.
Residential and commercial customers began reporting scam attempts late in the day on Tuesday, and hundreds of scam reports have been received since that time, the company said in a news release.
The majority of scam attempts are occurring via phone under the following non-Avista phone numbers: (800) 341-7967, (866) 235-7822, (509) 466-8089 and (800) 936-6629. Scammers are also using ‘spoofing’ technology to duplicate Avista’s phone number. Some customers also have reported automated fraud attempts.
The company said customers should be be aware of these scam tactics:
Harsh threatening language demanding immediate payment for an overdue bill.
Threats of same-day service disconnection.
Inability of the caller to provide specific customer account activity details.
Instruction for the customer to purchase a prepaid debit, credit or gift card – often Green Dot or Money Pak.
Instruction for the customer to call back and provide the prepaid card details – which activates the funds and grants the scammer access to them.
Instruction for the customer to call back any phone number other than Avista’s customer service line.
Unexpected visitor demanding payment and using harsh language to threaten service disconnection.
Avista asks that customers continue to report suspicious requests or interactions with anyone who may be impersonating the company.
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