LEXINGTON — It should come as no surprise that scammers are getting more and more sophisticated, but a new scam targeting Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities customers is taking things to the next level. This latest scheme uses a recording of the utilities’ automated phone system to make the scam sound more authentic. LG&E and KU never calls customers requesting phone payments.
In an effort to help thwart off potential perpetrators, LG&E and KU are reminding customers of tips to help avoid getting swindled and to guard against scams that could be associated with our company.
Several utility fraud schemes have swept the nation in recent years targeting both residential and business customers alike. One involves a caller who claims to be a utility employee and asks for immediate bill payment by credit card or prepaid money card. If the targeted customer does not cooperate, the caller threatens to disconnect the person’s electric or natural gas service. In another, customers receive emails, from what appears to be their utility provider, stating a past due amount and directing them to click a link. In recent days, a caller leaves a message directing the customer to a fake number that’s been set up to sound like the LG&E and KU automated phone system and provides a billing and payment menu option. Even the Caller ID, in some cases, has been altered to reflect the call is coming from an LG&E and KU number when it is not.
LG&E and KU offer the following safe advice to residential and business customers:
• Secure your personal information: LG&E and KU will never call and ask for credit or debit card numbers or other personal information. Nor do the utilities ask their customers to go to a specific retail outlet to purchase pre-paid cards to make a utility bill payment.
• Always remember you have bill payment options: LG&E and KU offer customers a variety of official payment options. A complete list can be found here.
• First check with LG&E and KU: Customers who receive a suspicious phone call, voicemail, email or letter should contact LG&E and KU directly using the company’s official contact channels. The utilities will always verify official communications. LG&E customers should call 502-589-1444 (outside Louisville at 1-800-331-7370); KU customers should call 1-800-981-0600.
• Elect to receive billing notifications through MyAccount: Customers can choose how and when they would like to receive timely reminders about their monthly bills by signing up for billing notifications.
While there are many reasons the utilities may visit a customer’s home or business, including to read the meter, respond to a report of an outage or to inspect equipment, in-person contact at a customer’s home or business never involves collecting payment for a monthly bill.
LG&E and KU encourage customers to always obtain positive identification in the event someone appears at their door stating they are there on any company’s behalf. LG&E and KU employees and contractors carry authentic company ID badges which show the companies’ logos. An employee ID card always has the employee’s name and color photograph on the front as well. If a customer is ever in doubt, they should call the official contact numbers above for verification.