AUSTIN -- The City of Austin is warning utility customers about a phone scam.
The scammers are apparently masking their phone numbers to appear they are coming from the City of Austin. They have been telling customers that their bills are past due and their electricity will be shut off unless they pay.
City of Austin officials said Monday that the scammers are using common phrases like “Do you want to speak with my supervisor?” or “If you don’t believe me, you can call me back at this number.”
The scammers are telling customers to buy a prepaid money card at a local store and use it to wire money through a bank account number.
The City of Austin has a few tips for customers to avoid being scammed:
- Austin Energy, which manages the City of Austin's utility billing, will never ask you to make a wire transfer.
- Austin Energy representatives will never ask customers for a credit card number over the phone. They will also never ask for money card numbers.
- Austin Energy accepts walk-in payments at service centers in several locations in Austin.
- Staff at authorized locations will ask to see the customer’s utility bill statement before accepting payment.
- If a customer receives a phone call to make a wire transfer to pay a utility bill, hang up and dial 3-1-1 or (512) 974-2000 and report the incident immediately. Austin 3-1-1 ambassadors will report the incident to law enforcement.
If you think you are the victim of a scam, call (512) 494-9400 to double check. For more information go here.