August 15, 2018
Criminals are posing as company employees to gain access to homes to rob them
ASHLAND, Ky., August 15, 2018 – Kentucky Power is warning customers to beware of criminals posing as company employees to gain access to homes to rob them.
An elderly Ashland resident recently allowed someone who claimed to be a Kentucky Power employee into her home to check equipment, according to the Ashland Police Department. The imposter stole $58 in cash and the woman’s purse.
Scammers also are targeting customers on the phone and online.
“We are continuing to see an unsettling number of scams by thieves impersonating our employees,” said Cindy Wiseman, Kentucky Power’s managing director of external affairs and customer service. “Scammers are becoming increasingly deceptive and we want to notify our customers so they can protect themselves. We encourage customers who receive urgent, demanding phone calls, emails or an unexpected knock on the door from someone claiming to be with Kentucky Power or AEP to be cautious. Customers can contact us at the toll-free number on their bill, that’s 1-800-572-1113, to verify and report suspicious claims or they call local law enforcement.”
Scammers can be convincing and often target those who are most vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income communities. Criminals also aim their scams at small business owners during busy customer service hours. A convenience store in Hazard recently reported receiving such a phone call.
“The safety of customers and employees is a top priority at Kentucky Power and we encourage customers to take steps to protect their homes, businesses and personal information against imposters,” Wiseman said.
Utility company scams, unfortunately, are common. Thieves not only have posed as representatives of Kentucky Power and American Electric Power in person, but also they often call from numbers that name Kentucky Power on the Caller ID. Some calls even have a recording that sounds like Kentucky Power’s phone message.
These tips can help protect customers:
· If you receive a call or a knock on the door from someone claiming that your service will be terminated unless you make a payment by purchasing a prepaid credit card, hang up immediately, don’t let them in, report the incident to Kentucky Power at 1-800-572-1113 and call local law enforcement.
· Customers should never open their door to someone they don’t recognize and should always ask for a photo ID through the door or window, especially if you did not request a visit from Kentucky Power.
· Never allow anyone claiming to be a utility service person into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment and the person has proper identification. Lock the door and contact police if you become concerned about your safety.
· If someone states he or she is a Kentucky Power employee, ask for his or her employee information. Ask to see photo identification, which should display the Kentucky Power logo, a name and photograph.
· Call customer service at 1-800-572-1113 and a representative can verify the employee and the nature of the visit or phone call.
· Take note of Kentucky Power’s official methods of payment. Customers can pay their bills online at kentuckypower.com, by phone, automatic bank draft, by mail, in person at an authorized payment locations, or with our mobile app available free in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
· Call Kentucky Power at 1-800-572-1113 to verify your account balance and the date your payment is due.
· Confirm that you are speaking to a utility representative. If you have any concerns, tell the caller that you will independently check the phone number for the utility to verify the caller’s identity and information.
· Kentucky Power will notify customers by mail that their account is past due and their electric service will be disconnected – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
· Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers, or any other personal identification numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or emails requesting information.
· Customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these thieves should hang up and call the local police and then Kentucky Power at 1-800-572-1113. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.
· Trust your gut. If something seems suspicious, it probably is.
On average, more than 90 percent of customers who receive a call and report it to Kentucky Power indicate they did not fall for the scam. In the initial stages of the scam activity, it is estimated that at least 50 percent of customers contacted are tricked.
Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, Ky., provides service to about 167,000 customers in all or part of 20 eastern Kentucky counties, including Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Rowan. Kentucky Power is an operating company in the AEP system, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system. AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.