Customers urged to contact utility if they have questions about their account
AUGUSTA — Central Maine Power Co., a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, reports a new surge of calls to customers from scam artists claiming to represent the utility and demanding immediate payments.
“Scammers have renewed their efforts to get our customers to depart with their hard-earned money,” said CMP spokesperson Gail Rice. “Customers should be wary of calls threatening immediate disconnection, and should instead call CMP if they have any questions about their account status.”
Scammers have typically called business customers — often restaurants and markets just prior to their lunch or dinner rush periods — but they’ve also targeted residential customers. Some customers reported receiving multiple calls in the same day. Most are warned of imminent disconnection, instructed to purchase a pre-paid debit card, and told to call a specific number with the card information. In some cases, the perpetrators tell customers they had not received a recent payment or they had incorrectly processed a payment, and the customer had to pay again.
Rice added that some scammers have become increasingly creative in their efforts.
“They use devices that spoof caller ID systems so the call looks like it’s coming from CMP,” she said. “Fortunately, most customers have taken notice of our prior warnings and know these calls are all scams.”
CMP warns customers to verify all information before making such payments, and offers these tips to keep their account information secure:
· CMP will not call a customer for payment if his or her account is in good standing.
· CMP does not ask customers to purchase debit cards such as Green Dot MoneyPaks to make payments. Any instruction involving such a payment scheme should be considered a red flag.
· Customers can check their balance at CMP’s website at www.cmpco.com or by calling 1-800-750-4000 (residential customers) or 1-800-565-3181 (business customers).
· Customers who need to make an urgent payment should do so only through the CMP website, or at one of the payment agents listed on the website at http://www.cmpco.com/YourAccount/payyourbill/paymentoptions/paymentagents.html.
· Customers can avoid payment scams entirely and keep current on their CMP bills by enrolling in the utility’s AutoPay service, where the amount due is automatically deducted from a bank account each month. More information on this payment option is at http://www.cmpco.com/YourAccount/payyourbill/paymentoptions/autopay.html.
· The identity of any CMP employee can be verified by asking for their photo ID card (if in person) or their employee number, then contacting CMP at 1.800.750.4000 to verify their identity and the nature of their business. Our employees are happy to comply with an identity verification request.
· We urge customers who have any questions about a call for an overdue payment to call CMP at 1-800-750-4000.
Additional information on avoiding scams can be found at CMP’s website: http://www.cmpco.com/YourAccount/payyourbill/PaymentScams.html.
Customers who believe they have been scammed should contact their local law enforcement agency and the Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov/).