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Local Utilities Raise Awareness of Utility Worker Imposters

Chattanooga Gas Offers Tips on How Consumers Can Protect Themselves from Scams

Chattanooga, Tenn. (Feb. 21, 2017) – Chattanooga Gas, Tennessee American Water and EPB are raising awareness of utility worker imposters. Imposters may try to scam customers in person at their home, business or by phone.

When coming to a private residence or business to perform work, legitimate utility workers with Chattanooga Gas, Tennessee American Water and EPB always wear a uniform with the company’s logo, present a photo ID badge and drive work vehicles that prominently display the company’s name. Contractors working with these utilities will be able to identify themselves with company-issued identification. Examples include a magnetic logo on their truck or a special company-issued badge for contractors.

“Chattanooga Gas wants its customers to be aware of all the scams that are out there,” said Larry Buie, Chattanooga Gas regional director. “Each utility involved in this effort wants customers to be armed with the facts so they know how to respond if faced with a scam.” 

Chattanooga Gas, Tennessee American Water and EPB field employees who are working at a home or business will not take payment for bills. Instead, employees will direct customers to the appropriate payment site or authorized payment location.

“We are ultimately concerned for the safety of our customers,” said Tennessee American Water President Valoria Armstrong. “We want them to recognize the difference between a legitimate utility worker and an impersonator so they can protect themselves.”

Utility worker imposters may use tactics over the phone such as demanding immediate payment or payment via a pre-loaded credit card. Customers should be aware that Chattanooga Gas, Tennessee American Water and EPB customer service representatives will not ask customers for this form of payment. 

Customers also should be aware that some scammers are able to change the number on their caller ID to make the phone call appear legitimate.

“We ask our customers to remain vigilant against utility imposters who use scare tactics and fraudulent attempts to solicit immediate payments with cash or debit cards,” said EPB Chief Information and Security Officer David Johnson. “EPB does not demand payments with reloadable debit cards to prevent immediate service disconnections, and we never use online pop-up messaging to solicit payments or to verify customer information.” 

Customers with any doubts of the legitimacy of a worker at their property should contact the appropriate utility as well as local law enforcement.

For more information, visit www.chattanoogagas.com and connect with the company on Facebook (facebook.com/chattanoogagas) and Twitter (Twitter.com/chattanoogagas).

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 natural gas delivery service to more than 1.5 million customers in Georgia. In operation since 1856, the company is one of the oldest corporations in the state. For more information, visit www.atlantagaslight.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 4.5 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 www.southerncompanygas.com. 

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Media Contact:
Kristie Swink Benson, APR | o: 404.584.3167 | c: 404.387.8067 |  kbenson@southernco.com