More than 50 customers report calls from fake phone line in 24 hour period
Edited by AZI Staff
PHOENIX – APS warned customers last week to be on alert for a scam trying to entice them into paying a false electric bill. Criminals, masquerading as APS employees, are calling residential and small business customers and threatening to disconnect their electric service unless an outstanding balance is paid. More than 50 customers called APS to report being targeted by the scammers on March 22. APS reports it encountered a similar scam last fall.
The scammers are using a ghost phone system that appears to be APS on the recipient’s caller ID. The potential victims are instructed to call a toll-free number to pay their electric bill under threat of having service disconnected within the hour. The number goes to a false phone system that acts and sounds like the actual APS Customer Care Center. Customers are asked to select a number for the service they require, including paying a bill. After selecting the option to pay their bill, the scammer picks up the phone and says, “This is APS, how can I help you?” The scammers then collect payment.
APS security, local law enforcement and the FBI are currently working together to apprehend those responsible. To keep customers from becoming a victim of consumer scams, APS provides the following suggestions:
- The only valid numbers to the APS Customer Care Center are listed on customer bills and at aps.com.
- If there is ever a question about the validity of an email, website or person claiming to be an APS representative, call the APS Customer Care Center immediately at (602) 371-7171 to verify this information.
- Recognize the signs of a phishing email: mismatched fonts, missing hyperlinks, improper grammar and misspellings.
- Never share credit card information with an unverified source. Customers who pay by credit card at aps.com will be directed to the KUBRA EZ-Pay website which asks them to enter a “captcha” validation code. A “captcha” typically uses a set of letters and numbers that the user is required to manually retype and submit. Any other credit card payment site is fraudulent and should not be used.
APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves nearly 1.2 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).