Customers Advised to Use Caution to Avoid Scammers Pretending to be Seattle City Light

Seattle City Light produced a video with the Seattle Police Department, reminding customers to protect their personal financial information to avoid becoming a victim of scammers posing as City Light employees.

Watch it here.

When a customer is past due on a bill, Seattle City Light will take steps to notify the customer multiple times before shutting off power. Seattle City Light will always direct customers to the secure online payment system at www.seattle.gov/light or to call (206) 684-3000 to make a payment. Seattle City Light employees will never ask for payment in person and will always be able to produce identification if informing a customer in-person of a past-due bill.

During the winter, scammers may attempt to take advantage of the perfect storm of higher heating bills that come with lower temperatures.  Scammers may demand thousands of dollars and threaten to shut off power if payment isn’t made immediately. Vulnerable residents may be specially targeted by scammers including non-English speaking individuals, elderly people, and small-business owners. These threats can take place over the phone, by email, or in-person at customer homes and businesses. Some scammers may use caller ID impersonating Seattle City Light’s customer service number to convince customers that they are talking to the utility.

“We have a great team that works hard to make sure your service is provided safely and securely,” says Kelly Enright, Director of Customer Care at Seattle City Light. “If you’re ever in doubt when you receive a suspicious call, hang up and reach out to us directly. By initiating the call, you’ll have more confidence in who you’re speaking with on the other end of the line.”

If customers have concerns about the validity of a contact and want to ensure they’re talking to Seattle City Light, they are encouraged to call Seattle City Light directly at (206) 684-3000. Learn more about how to avoid becoming a victim at: www.seattle.gov/light/EndScams.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

Beware of Con Artists Posing as Utility Bill Collectors

Seattle City Light reminds its customers to beware of con artists who pose as utility bill collectors.

A business owner was victimized this week by the phone scam in which a caller claims an electricity bill has not been paid and threatens to cut off power within the hour if the customer does not make an immediate payment. Con artists have been directing people to obtain pre-paid debit cards for these swindles because they lack the fraud protections that most credit cards or bank debit cards provide.

“It’s despicable that scammers use the threat of cutting off electric service to steal money,” City Light Customer Care Director Kelly Enright said. “We want our customers to know about these scams so they can protect themselves from becoming the next victim.”

Scams like this have been tried for years. Seattle City Light uses its Light Reading newsletter, Power Lines Blog and social media accounts to educate customers about these scams so they can protect themselves. If you ever receive a call like this, do not give out any personal financial information. Instead, try to get as much information about the person who is calling that you can and then contact your local police.

Anyone who ever has a question about the status of their account can call City Light at (206) 684-3000.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.