LOUISVILLE - Today, Nov. 18, marks the fifth annual Utility Scam Awareness Day when Louisville Gas and Electric Company, Kentucky Utilities Company and Old Dominion Power Company join more than 145 fellow U.S. and Canadian utilities to raise consumer awareness on how to recognize scams and offer advice to avoid them.
These efforts have become more important this year during the pandemic, as reports of scams have risen as a result.
This annual international initiative is led by Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a consortium of electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations. Through its work and with the help of customer reporting, UUAS has successfully taken out of operation nearly 9,500 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers.
'Unfortunately, scammers are becoming more sophisticated and attempting to exploit an already challenging time during the pandemic,' said Eileen Saunders, LG&E and KU vice president-Customer Services. 'We try and do everything we can to help protect our customers. We offer year-round resources and partner with UUAS members to raise this collective attention and report known scammers, and we encourage everyone to stay vigilant and follow the advice being offered to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams.'
Scammers most often resort to using intimidation tactics and may even pull information they've found publicly available online to make themselves sound more credible. LG&E, KU and ODP advise customers to follow these SAFE tips to protect your personal information.
Safeguard personal information: LG&E, KU and ODP will never contact you and demand credit or debit card numbers, checking account information or other personal information.
Always remember you have bill payment options: LG&E, KU and ODP do not make live phone calls to demand immediate payment and threaten service disconnection, and the utilities will never require using a prepaid debit/gift card or ask you to transfer money to a payment app. The utilities offer a variety of payment options, including special COVID-19-related payment plans.
First check with LG&E, KU and ODP if you're suspicious: Customers who receive a suspicious live phone call, an email or letter should call LG&E, KU and ODP which will always verify official communications. LG&E residential customers should call 502-589-1444 (outside Louisville at 1-800-331-7370); KU/ODP residential customers should call 1-800-981-0600.
Enlist the help of law enforcement: Customers who suspect they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with scammers, should report it to their local police department and contact LG&E, KU and ODP. The utilities, in turn, work year-round with local law enforcement agencies investigating these types of crimes.
In-person appointments and services
LG&E, KU and ODP encourage customers to always obtain positive identification in the event someone appears at their door stating they are there on any company's behalf. The utilities' employees and contractors will always carry an authentic company ID badge that shows the LG&E, KU and ODP logos, the person's name and a color photograph. During in-person visits, employees and contractors are following CDC and pandemic guidelines. The utilities practice social distancing when feasible; request customers who are sick remain at a distance and wear additional protective equipment such as masks, respirators, gloves and protective suits when needed to ensure employee and customers' safety.
Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) family of companies, are regulated utilities that serve more than 1.3 million customers and have consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. LG&E serves 329,000 natural gas and 418,000 electric customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties. KU serves 558,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties and five counties in Virginia.