Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) is warning customers about scam phone calls being made to Lafayette Parish residents and local businesses from people claiming to represent utility companies.
The callers threaten to shut off utility service unless a delinquent bill is paid within a matter of hours. The callers then request a form of payment to be made over the phone. Elderly people and businesses are often targeted in this type of activity.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, which works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices, “Instead of asking you to wire money, a new scam wants you to use GreenDot, buy a prepaid gift card, or use PayPal. Scammers using reloadable debit cards, gift cards, or PayPal is not new, but it’s growing. It lets them get your money in a way that you’ll never get it back.”
Things LUS Customers need to know regarding scam identification:
- When customers are contacted with a friendly, automated reminder about a bill payment, they will NEVER be asked to give money to a live person over the phone.
- When customers speak with an LUS Customer Service Representative, they may be given the option to pay over the phone, but that process will NEVER be performed by a live person.
- The automated methods LUS provides for our costumer to pay a bill would NEVER include methods of payment such as Paypal, Western Union, or GreenDot.
- Customers should only use methods authorized by their utility company to pay bills.
- If you get a call, email, text, or even a visit from someone telling you to make a utility bill payment, and you believe it could be a scam, contact your utility company on the phone number that appears on your bill, describe what happened, and report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission and your local law enforcement.