Ameren Missouri shares tips to educate and protect customers from getting scammed following uptick in attempts in the region
ST. LOUIS (June 18, 2019) – Ameren Missouri wants to warn its customers about thieves using new, more sophisticated tactics to imitate utility companies. To help its customers recognize scam attempts, Ameren Missouri is sharing tips and insight on how to avoid becoming a victim.
“We take scams targeting our customers seriously and personally,” said Terry Roberds, director of corporate security at Ameren. "Now we see scammers using aggressive and sophisticated tactics threatening to cut service, demanding immediate payment, usually through an untraceable transaction. We want all our customers to know that isn't how Ameren works."
As the temperatures rise, Ameren Missouri has seen an uptick in the number of scam attempts by individuals posing as an Ameren representative. Usually, the criminal will call or email a business, or show up onsite demanding payment or personal information.
"If you suspect something isn’t right, trust your gut and do not comply," says Roberds. “Scammers prey on ignorance. By educating our residential and business customers about common scams, we can turn the tide on these thieves, prevent monetary losses and strengthen the communities we serve.”
Signs of potential scam activity
- Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer his or her utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made – usually within less than an hour.
- Equipment or repair bogus fee: Scammers may call demanding a separate payment to replace or install a utility-related device or meter.
- Overpayment trick: When scammers call claiming you have overpaid your utility bill, and you need to provide personal bank account information or a credit card number to facilitate a refund.
- Power restoration rip off: Scammers may call offering to restore power quickly or in a preferential order for immediate payment typically in the aftermath of a severe storm causing widespread power outages.
How to protect yourself
- Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking, savings or Ameren account numbers to anyone who calls, sends an email, or comes to your home requesting this information.
- Don't trust anyone asking for immediate payment. If you suspect someone is impersonating an Ameren employee, end the conversation and immediately call Ameren Missouri at 1.800.552.7583 or Ameren Illinois at 1.800.755.5000.
- Never purchase a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. Legitimate utility companies do not specify how customers should make a bill payment and always offer a variety of ways to pay a bill. Ameren customers can make payments online, by phone, electronic check, mail or at pay in person locations.
For more information, visit Ameren.com/stop-scams. Customers should also follow Ameren on social media to receive the latest updates on scams.
About Ameren Missouri
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.
For further information: Missouri Communications