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BPU Observes Utility Scam Awareness Day-2023

BPU Observes Utility Scam Awareness Day

(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) continues to warn customers to be aware of utility scams. Today, BPU joins utility companies across the nation on November 15th to recognize the eighth annual Utility Scam Awareness Day. Utility Scam Awareness Day is an advocacy and awareness campaign focused on educating customers about, and exposing, scammer tactics.

The campaign is orchestrated by Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) as a part of International Fraud Awareness Week. BPU was the first municipal utility in the region to join the UUAS.

Scammers are attempting new tactics in recent months. According to BPU representatives, multiple reports have been made about calls stating that utility payments are past due and service will be disconnected unless a payment is made. The caller has used caller ID spoofing to convince victims the call is from the BPU outage number, 913-573-9522. The caller will then give instructions to make a payment.

BPU will never ask for payment over the phone or threaten disconnection due to non-payment. Customers that suspect they are being targeted by a scam need to hang up right away and call the BPU Customer Service Department at 913-573-9190. If you feel you have been a victim of a scam, please work with your local law enforcement agency to report the crime.

Although BPU sometimes uses pre-recorded messages to notify customers about future dates for possible disconnection, they do not cold-call customers to demand immediate payment.

BPU offers these tips for customers to protect themselves if they are unsure about a call, email, or visit from a utility representative:

  • Never give credit or debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers to anyone who comes to your door, calls, texts, and/or sends an email asking for information regarding your utility bill. Verify the request is authentic by either asking to see company identification or calling the BPU Customer Service Department.
  • Be suspicious if you receive an email regarding your utility bill if you have not requested online communications from BPU.
  • Never provide personal information via email or click any suspicious links or attachments

BPU said electric customers have been targeted by scammers using a variety of such scam attempts for a number of years in several states besides Kansas, including Nebraska; Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; the District of Columbia; Florida; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; Mississippi; Missouri; New Jersey; New York; Oklahoma; Texas; Wisconsin; and New Mexico.

“Together, utilities are working to combat scammers by spreading awareness and partnering with telecom providers to remove access to phone lines for reported scammers. As always, we encourage policymakers to adopt stronger public protections and encourage private citizens and small businesses to stay vigilant against scams,” said BPU Chief Communications Officer David Mehlhaff.

For information and tips on how customers can protect themselves from impostor utility scams, visit www.utilitiesunited.org.

Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) is a consortium of more than 150 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations. UUAS is dedicated to combating impostor utility scams by providing a forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best practices, in addition to working together to implement initiatives to inform and protect customers.



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