Chattanooga Gas Joins National Effort to Inform Customers on How to Guard Against Utility Scams
Chattanooga, Tenn. – Nov. 15, 2017 – Keeping families safe and natural gas flowing to homes and businesses is Chattanooga Gas’ highest priority. That’s why Chattanooga Gas is joining other utility companies across the United States and Canada to protect customers against utility scams.
The Utilities United Against Scams collaboration has designated Nov. 15 as “Utility Scam Awareness Day” to support a week-long campaign designed to expose the tactics scammers use to steal money from customers, and how they can protect themselves.
“Working together with other utilities offers us an additional platform to educate the communities where we live and serve on how to remain vigilant against utility scammers,” said Bryan Batson, president of Chattanooga Gas.
Chattanooga Gas is committed to keeping its customers informed about utility scam activities. Although there are a number of scam tactics, a common one involves a customer receiving an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a company representative. The scammer warns that the company will disconnect the customer’s natural gas service if a payment is not made within a short timeframe.
Scammers also can duplicate a company’s upfront Interactive Voice Response system, so when customers call back phone numbers provided by the scammer, it appears to be legitimate. Some of these scams also use caller ID spoofing to replicate a company’s customer service number.
Red flags for scam activity
- The individual becomes angry and tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made – usually within less than an hour.
- The individual instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment to the company.
- The individual asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.
- Whenever a field service representative or one of our contractors visits your home or business, they will provide proper identification. If you have further concerns, please contact customer care at 1-866-643-4168 to confirm that a representative has been scheduled to perform work at your premises.
- When a customer service representative contacts you by phone regarding the status of your account or to discuss payment, they will identify that they are a Chattanooga Gas employee.
- If you want to verify that the call is legitimate, request to have the representative confirm information about your account that only you and the company would know, including the date of your last payment, the amount of your last payment and your account number.
- Chattanooga Gas will never demand payment by one method such as prepaid debit /ATM card or checking account.
- Any customer who has doubts about the legitimacy of any call from Chattanooga Gas, especially one in which payment is requested should call us directly. If you feel uncomfortable and know you have an outstanding balance that needs to be resolved, hang up and call us directly.
Customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with an individual posing as a company representative, should contact local authorities, and then the customer care center phone number listed on their bill.
For information about natural gas safety, visit www.chattanoogagas.com/safety.
About Chattanooga Gas
Chattanooga Gas is one of seven natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Chattanooga Gas provides retail natural gas sales and transportation services to approximately 64,000 customers in Hamilton and Bradley counties in southeast Tennessee. The Chattanooga Gas service area includes the communities of Chattanooga, Cleveland, Red Bank, East Ridge, Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain. For more information, please see www.chattanoogagas.com.
About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.6 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in seven states and more than 1 million retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit Southern Company Gas at southerncompanygas.com.
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