UPDATED — Jefferson, Clallam PUDs warn customers of phone scams

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PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT officials in Clallam and Jefferson counties are warning customers about phone scams in which a caller poses as a PUD representative and attempts to collect money via a credit card.

From the Jefferson PUD: "Scam Alert — restaurant owners beware

"Once again, at least three of our electric commercial customers — restaurants, in particular — have received calls that they will have their power disconnected (in some cases, “within minutes”) if they don't pay a collector working on behalf of the PUD.

"They are sophisticated and may possess bank information based on what a customer told us. No third party has been given the authority to turn PUD utilities off due to non-payment.

"Anyone who says they do is potentially committing wire fraud. If you receive such a call, please contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at (360) 385-3831."

From the Clallam PUD:

"This past weekend multiple PUD customers received a call from an “800” number where the caller claimed to be a PUD employee and said power would be shut off if the bill was not paid in full via credit card. The caller attempts to demonstrate legitimacy by knowing the customers address, which can be found through a variety of public directories.

"The caller(s) did not have personal PUD account information however.

"While the PUD does disconnect power for nonpayment, it does have a process it follows. At approximately 33 days after the customer's bill date, if the customer has not paid they receive a past due notice in the mail. This is a 10 day notice. If they do not pay within those 10 days the customer's name then goes into the PUD's phone notification system. Phone calls from the PUD occur on Friday, but if the automated call does not go thru on Friday the PUD then makes manual calls the next Monday. Lastly, if after the manual call on Monday the PUD is still not able to reach someone, a door hanger is delivered on Tuesday.

"This means that PUD customers would not receive a phone call unless their bill was approximately 45 days delinquent from the bill date. Because of FACTA, the PUD does not provide any information to customers about their account unless the customer provides verification that they are the account holder. Additionally, the PUD only makes manual calls during regular operating hours, Monday – Friday. Disconnects for non-payment also occur during normal working hours, Monday-Friday, providing one more opportunity for customers to make arrangements.

"The PUD encourages customers to be cautious when providing personal information, and when in doubt, call the PUD at 360-452-9771 to verify the legitimacy of the inquiry."

Last modified: April 15. 2014 12:41PM
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