Local utility companies are uniting to fight back against scammers.
On Wednesday, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service and Southwest Gas are joining the nationwide effort through Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS).
Con artists, who are pretending to be utility employees, call consumers and demand they pay money or their service will be shut off. The scammers are able to mimic what the "real" utility company employees sound like.
SRP Manager of Customer Credit Services Carisa Woolstenhulme says the goal of this effort is to empower consumers to know what to look out for.
"We are trying to get a uniform message out -- telling customers we don't do this," said Woolstenhulme. "Don't buy a prepaid card to pay your energy bill. If you are concerned call us."
Some of the biggest targets, according to Woolstenhulme, are the elderly and those with language barriers.
SRP predicts the scammers will ramp up their efforts near the holidays.
Woolstenhulme offered the following tips to spot scammers:
- Caller will be aggressive and threaten to shut-off services within short period of time
- Caller will demand immediate payment in the form of a pre-paid card