Don’t become a victim – safeguard yourself against thieves attempting to steal your money or personal information
ST. LOUIS (Nov. 15, 2023) – As the holiday season approaches, Ameren is warning residential and business customers in Illinois and Missouri about aggressive scammers who increase their criminal activity during these busy months.
“One of the best ways customers can protect themselves is by learning how to recognize the latest scam tactics and reporting them to the appropriate authorities,” said Maria Gomez, security supervisor for Ameren. “We often see an uptick in utility scams during the holiday season when customers may be rushed, paying less attention to warning signs, or more concerned about finances. Scammers may call residential or business customers threatening disconnection and demanding immediate payment, so it’s important to stay vigilant.”
Today, Ameren is joining utility companies worldwide for the eighth consecutive year for the Utility Scam Awareness Day on Nov.15, 2023. The campaign seeks to raise awareness of scams and educate customers before they become victims.
MOST COMMON UTILITY SCAM TACTICS
Here are some tactics commonly used by scammers, especially during the busy holiday season:
- Scammers often create a sense of urgency, using language like “pay now or you’ll be disconnected,” or presenting special discount offers to reduce your utility bill if you pay a portion immediately.
- Scammers often pose as Ameren employees by using fake employee numbers or trying to mimic account information to legitimize their call.
- A sophisticated tactic includes masking incoming calls so they appear to be from Ameren on caller ID systems and then giving a different phone number to make a payment.
- Be aware scammers are creating fake search engine listings that include fraudulent customer service phone numbers for Ameren. They disguise themselves as company representatives to take payments or steal financial information. Customers should always go directly to Ameren.com to acquire legitimate contact numbers.
- A relatively new tactic is the promise to reduce your utility bill if you install solar panels on your house. Scammers are going door-to-door to pitch fake solar offers.
- Door Knocking Impostor: Door-to-door impostors pose as Ameren employees to request payment for an immediate service or install.
- Social Media Charity Scam: Social media posts are telling customers that a charity will pay for their utility bills if the customer first makes a partial payment by money transfer.
- Scammers offer unusual suggestions for forms of payment: loading an app, bitcoin, or locations of where to get cash cards.
KEYS TO PROTECTING YOURSELF:
- Never give your credit card, debit card, social security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers to anyone who calls, sends a text message or 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 Illinois at 1.800.755.5000 or Ameren Missouri at 1.800.552.7583.
- 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, by mail or at in-person pay locations.
- For more information, visit Ameren.com/stop-scams. Customers should also follow Ameren on social media to receive the latest updates on scams.
- Sign up to manage your account online at Ameren.com where you can immediately check the status of your account.
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric transmission and distribution service and natural gas distribution service. Ameren Missouri provides electric generation, transmission and distribution service, as well as natural gas distribution service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois develops, owns and operates rate-regulated regional electric transmission projects. For more information, visit Ameren.com, or follow us at @AmerenCorp, Facebook.com/AmerenCorp, or LinkedIn/company/Ameren.