Avista urges customers to be alert to anyone pretending to be from Avista. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be an Avista representative demanding immediate payment or asking for your confidential information, immediately end the call.
Red flags for scam activity:
• The scammer 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 an hour.
• The scammer 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 utility payment.
• The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.
How to protect yourself:
• Avista never asks or requires a customer to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
• Customers with a past due account receive an advance disconnection notification with the regular monthly billing – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
• If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police then Avista. Never return a call to the phone number the scammers provide.
• Customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during the call should contact local authorities, and then call Avista’s customer service at 800-227-9187. The number is listed on Avista’s monthly bill.
• Some scammers have duplicated Avista’s automated phone greeting, so when customers return a call to the phone number provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate Avista phone number. Some of these criminals also use caller ID spoofing to replicate Avista’s customer service number.
• Customers can call Avista at 800-227-9187 to verify if the phone call was actually from Avista.