After recent cold weather, metro utility companies warning about rise in scams

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s no shock utility payments are a concern after the recent cold weather and the power companies are warning people they’re hearing about more scams.

Utility companies, like Evergy and Kansas City, Kansas Board of Public Utilities, said scammers are calling customers posing as legitimate utility companies. They claim your bill is past due. The, put the customer on a 30 minute clock to pay or have their power shut off.

“It is 110% a scam,” BPU Chief Communications Officer David Mehlhaff said.

He said it’s happening across the metro. They’ve received close to 50 messages about this scam within the last 30 days.

“We don’t ask for payments over the telephone,” Mehlhaff said. “We don’t threaten to disconnect utilities over the phone for non-payment.”

When that happens, hang up. It’s a scam.

Also, dont’ trust caller ID. These scammers get creative spoofing calls posing as legit utility companies.

“Right now, scammers have the availability to present themselves differently on caller ID,” Evergy Spokesperson Andrew Baker said.

Never give out personal information, like credit card or account numbers.

Be suspicious if you get an email. Don’t click on any links. Instead, go directly to the company’s website.

“We’ll never send out threats through email to a customer,” Baker said. “What we will do is send a written notification letting you know about your situation and let you know how to rectify it.”

Right now, they aren’t even shutting off power because of hardships due to the pandemic.

Some utility companies have extended the disconnect moratorium:

-For Evergy customers it will be extended through May 2nd, 2021.
-For BPU customers it will be extended through March 31st, 2021.

“Yet these scammers think they can maybe fool people into giving them their information,” Mehlhaff said.

Both companies said it’s critical customers reach out to the utility and make payment arrangements.

They also want people to keep in mind, your bill will likely be higher this time around because customers used more power during the cold stretch.

If you need help paying your bill, utility companies are offering special plans.

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