ALEXANDRIA, La. (City of Alexandria) - Wednesday, November 16, the City of Alexandria and its Utility Department joins utilities and industry organizations nationwide in observing “Utilities United Against Scams Day,” which occurs each year on the third Wednesday in November, according to City of Alexandria Utility Director Michael Marcotte.
All too often, utility companies across the country and here at home hear from customers that they have been targeted by scammers impersonating utility personnel. Oftentimes the scammers threaten to shut off power if they don’t receive “immediate payment via credit card.”
It is important to note that the City of Alexandria does not contact past due accounts via phone. If your account is past due and subject to cut off, you will receive a 72-hour notice via mail.
We encourage you to help us take this opportunity to alert our customers to this threat and help educate them about how they can avoid falling prey to scammers.
Below are some tips on how consumers can avoid being scammed:
Know how scammers work.
The three most common scams are: a phone call telling you your bill is overdue and you will have your utilities cut off if you don’t pay immediately; an email that essentially says the same thing; and a knock on your door from an impostor dressed in a uniform claiming you must pay your bill immediately.
Know how your utility department works.
The City of Alexandria does not contact past due accounts via phone or email. If your account is past due and subject to cut off, you will receive a 72-hour notice via mail.
They will not demand payment over the phone. Our utilities do not accept prepaid debit cards or wire transfers as payment, and our representatives will not demand your bank information or credit card number over the phone.
What should you do.
If you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately. Be aware that scammers often use Caller ID spoofing software to misrepresent the source of a phone call, or provide you with a fake "verification" phone number. These call-back numbers may even include exact replicas of company greetings and hold messaging. If you would like to verify your account status, always call the City of Alexandria Customer Service Department using the numbers on our website or on your bill.
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, please contact the Alexandria Police Department.
Remember, do not give your credit/debit card information or any bank information out over the phone.