BEND, OR -- Scammers are again targeting Central Oregonians. At least a dozen local Pacific Power customers have reported receiving calls from someone claiming to be from the utility, threatening to shut off their service if they don't make an immediate payment to clear up a past-due bill.
Tom Gaunt, with Pacific Power, says there are a few key details that can signal a scam, "They often say they’re from the ‘Disconnection Department.’ We don’t have anything that’s called that. We don’t ask for your credit card number. Yes; there are circumstances in which you could pay a current bill or a past due bill with a credit card. But, if that’s the case, the person who says they’re from Pacific Power would not be handling your credit card info." He tells KBND News, "Also, if someone just says, ‘we’re going to turn it off in half an hour if you don’t pay up.’ That’s not how it happens. There’s a whole series of notices. And so, if something’s late, we don’t call up and threaten customers; we try to work out a schedule to make some payments and get people back on track."
And, if you think something about the call is suspicious, Gaunt says don't be afraid to question it. He suggests asking the caller to state your account number and compare it with what's listed on your bill. "If you’re on a call with anyone that just says, ‘This doesn’t sound right.’ A real agent won’t be offended if you say, ‘You know what? This doesn’t sound right. I’m going to hang up and call the number I know is correct,’ which is 888-221-7070." If you receive a suspicious call, Gaunt asks that you note the phone number it's coming from and any other information that might be helpful in tracking the scammers, then call Pacific Power.