Avista reminds customers to be ever vigilant for scams
Avista urges customers to be alert to anyone pretending to be from Avista. If you receive a call or email from someone claiming to be an Avista representative demanding immediate payment or mentioning that your power would proactively be shut off, immediately end the call or delete the email.
Red flags for phone scam activity
· The scammer becomes angry and tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made – usually within an hour.
· The scammer instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a utility payment.
· The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.
Red flags for email scam activity
Scammers can easily lift our logo from online and create emails that look like they are from Avista, so if you do not recognize the sender's email address, take the following precautions:
· Do not open an unfamiliar email as it may include malicious links that go to a compromised website hosting malware.
· Do not respond to the request.
· Do not click on any links.
· Do not open any attachments.
· Do not provide any personal information.
How to protect yourself
· Avista never asks or requires a customer to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
· Customers with a past due account receive an advance disconnection notification with the regular monthly billing – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
· If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police, then Avista. Never return a call to the phone number the scammers provide.
· Customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during the call should contact local authorities, and then call Avista’s customer service at (800) 227-9187. The number is listed on Avista’s monthly bill.
· Some scammers have duplicated Avista’s automated phone greeting, so when customers return a call to the phone number provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate Avista phone number. Some of these criminals also use caller ID spoofing to replicate Avista’s customer service number.
· Customers can call Avista at (800) 227-9187 to verify if the phone call was actually from Avista.