PINEVILLE, La. (Cleco) - In observance of National Utility Scam Awareness Week, Nov. 17 – 23, Cleco is reminding customers to be on alert for fraudulent phone calls, text messages and emails, as well as in-person scammers posing as representatives of Cleco.
“Scammers frequently try to take advantage of our customers with fraudulent phone calls demanding immediate payment with a pre-paid card and threating disconnection, but Cleco will never initiate calls to demand immediate payment, and our customer service representatives will never ask customers to pay with a pre-paid card,” said Ron Smith, general manager of customer experience. “These scammers are very convincing, and they are becoming more sophisticated, which is why we’re raising awareness. We don’t want our customers or anyone else to become a victim.”
Customers should be aware of these common utility scams:
• Disconnection Deception
Scammers call threatening disconnection of your service unless you make an immediate payment with a pre-paid card.
• Overpayment Tactic
Scammers call claiming you overpaid your bill, and you need to provide your personal bank account information or a credit card number to facilitate a refund.
• Vacate Your Home
Scammers claim there is a need to replace your meter or other equipment, and you must leave your home for 72 hours.
• Power Restoration Charge
Scammers call offering to restore your electricity more quickly for a fee after a severe storm.
• Identification Attack
Rather than directing victims to call a 1-800 number, the scammers direct callers to press 1 to collect more data in an attempt to get your personal information.
How Cleco customers can protect themselves:
• If a Cleco customer receives a suspicious phone call, hang up immediately and do not call back the number given by the caller. Cleco customers can reach a Cleco representative by calling 1-800-622-6537, reaching out through Cleco’s official Facebook page at @ClecoPower or visiting a local customer service office. Also, customers can verify account information through the company’s self-service application, MyAccount.
• A Cleco representative will never demand how a customer should remit payment. In fact, Cleco offers multiple ways for customers to pay a bill, including accepting payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in-person at customer service offices or authorized payment centers. A list of authorized payment locations, including Cleco customer service offices, is available at www.cleco.com.
Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers, should contact Cleco and local law enforcement authorities.
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