San Antonio – Texas, (May 31, 2019) – In 2018, CPS Energy saw an increase in the number of customers reporting to have been victimized by someone representing themselves as a CPS Energy employee to steal money from them. CPS Energy urges their customers to be on full alert for individuals posing as CPS Energy employees either by phone or in person.
Knowing how CPS Energy operates is the first step to recognize imposter activity. CPS Energy says if customers receive calls from anyone claiming to be from the utility who threatens to cut off service if payment is not made immediately, they should hang up and call customer service directly at 210-353-2222. And if someone approaches their home or business claiming to be from CPS Energy, always ask for an employee ID. If a customer feels like they are in immediate danger, they should call 911.
“We want residential and commercial customers to protect themselves from scammers going after their hard-earned money,” said Maria Garcia, Vice President of Community Engagement and Corporate Responsibility. “The only time we will call customers is to remind them when their account is past due. However, we do not take payments over the phone.”
Payments can be made through Manage My Account (MMA), a free online portal. MMA also provides CPS Energy customers with monthly energy use information, a view of their billing statement and payment arrangements options.
Last year, CPS Energy received a combined 1,799 reports from both residential and commercial customers who fell victim to scams. In all, thieves were able to steal nearly $52,000, an increase of $20,000 from 2017.
CPS Energy employees will:
NEVER threaten to disconnect service at your home or business.
NEVER call residential or commercial customers to request payment by phone.
NEVER ask a customer to purchase credit cards or prepaid cards (for example, Amazon gift cards) and call back with payment.
NEVER ask to enter a customer’s home or business unless the customer initiates a request for service or receives prior notification.
Signs that the call is a scam:
· Threatening to cut off power. Scam artists demand quick action as a scare tactic.
· Asks customer to purchase any prepaid card to make payment.
· Once the imposter gets the card’s PIN or security number, it’s like wiring money.
The funds cannot be recovered
· Sends customer to CVS Pharmacy/Office Depot/Walgreens to make a payment
· Refuses option to pay at H-E-B, claims it takes 24 hours to receive payment.
· Claims recent payment was not received or was misapplied.
· Gives customer 30 minutes to pay or get shut-off.
· Caller claims someone from CPS Energy is on the way to turn power off.
· Asks customer for banking information.
· Caller asks customer for their account number.
· Supplies customer with an account number to apply a payment.
· Gives a toll free (i.e.: 1-800 or 1-844) number to have customer call back with
This article originally appeared in the San Antonio Observer.