Don’t get scammed: Ameren Missouri raises scam awareness during National Consumer Protection Week
Ameren Missouri is providing tips to customers in advance of National Consumer Protection Week to remind them of the tricks scammers use to steal money. Ameren Missouri says the goal is to educate customers on how they can guard against falling victim to imposter utility scams.
"Within the last few months, we've seen an uptick in reported scams across our service territory, specifically targeting our small business customers," said Tara Oglesby, vice president of Customer Experience at Ameren Missouri. "These scammers are using advanced tactics such as mimicking our voice response systems and displaying our phone numbers on caller ID, which can be very convincing."
Within the past four years, more than 3,000 Ameren Missouri customers have reported scam activity or fell victim to a scam. The majority of those incidents were phone calls from scammers who threaten that customers’ services will be disconnected or shut off if they fail to make an immediate payment – typically using a prepaid card or other non-traceable form of payment.
Oglesby added that Ameren Missouri is launching a public awareness campaign during National Consumer Protection Week to help customers stay vigilant in preventing scams. The campaign is in alignment with the Utilities United Against Scams collaborative, a group of more than 100 utilities across the nation working together to help stop scams targeting utility customers.
"We want our customers to know that we would never pressure anyone for immediate payment over the phone or demand that a specific credit card or phone number be used to make a payment," Oglesby explained.
Ameren Missouri offers these tips to protect customers against scammers:
- Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or saving 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.
- 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.
Ameren Missouri continues to work with federal, state and local authorities to investigate utility scams. Customers can also follow Ameren Missouri on social media to receive the latest updates on fraudulent account activity.
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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 130,000 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 at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.