BPU Issues Warning About New Scam Targeting Small Businesses
The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) wants to warn customers and business owners that the utility is seeing an escalated rate of utility scammers. BPU has seen an increase in reports of phone scams involving small business customers. With the most recent scam, callers are targeting small businesses using software that fraudulently mimics a utility company’s phone number that appears on the Caller ID. The caller warns that services will be disconnected if the customer fails to make an immediate payment. If the customer is unable to make a payment, the caller provides a phone number for customers to call where the payment can be made. This phone number is in no way associated with BPU and indeed a scam.
“We’ve been notified by customers who have been targeted with this strategy; where they are told to call a 1-800 number and purchase a prepaid credit card to make the payment so that all accounts are current. Sometimes the scammers use special software that makes it look like the call is coming from BPU” stated David Mehlhaff, BPU Chief Communications Officer.
Mehlhaff added that customers who suspect they are being scammed should never provide any personal or banking information. They should hang up and contact the BPU Customer Service Department directly at (913) 573-9190.
BPU said electric customers have been targeted by scammers using a variety of such scam attempts for a number of years in almost all of the 50 states BPU offers these tips to customers on protecting themselves if they are unsure about the identity of 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 home, calls, texts and/or sends an email requesting this information in respect to your utility bill, without verifying that is an authentic BPU call by either asking to see company identification or by calling BPU’s Customer Service Department.
- Be suspicious if you receive an email regarding your utility bill if you have not requested online communications from BPU.
- For customers using BPU’s online bill pay system, always make online payments directly through bpu.com.
- Never provide personal information via email or click any suspicious links or attachments.
About BPU BPU’s water department was originally created in 1909, and its electric utility was operational in 1912. The purpose of the utility, then and to this day, is to provide the highest quality electric and water services at the lowest possible cost. Today the publicly owned utility serves approximately 63,000 electric and 50,000 water customers, primarily in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The mission of the utility and its employees is “to focus on the needs of our customers, to improve the quality of life in our community while promoting safe, reliable and sustainable utilities.” BPU’s Web site is www.bpu.com.