Chattanooga Gas is joining 130 U.S. and Canadian energy companies Nov. 16-20 for a weeklong campaign to expose the red flags of a scam and show how customers can protect themselves.
“Impostor scams cost consumers $667 million in 2019 alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission,” said Pedro Cherry, president and CEO of Chattanooga Gas. “With more customers conducting personal business online due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, this year it is particularly important that people know how to identify the signs of a scam.”
In recent years, scammers have expanded their schemes into digital spaces, such as email and social media. Chattanooga Gas strongly encourages customers to be skeptical if anyone:
• Threatens to cut off their natural gas service if payment is not made within a short timeframe;
• Requests that payments be made from a single method, such as a debit card or checking account;
• Claims they have overpaid and their banking account or credit card number is needed for a refund;
• Informs them of a need to vacate their home so that a meter or other natural gas equipment can be replaced; or
• Suggests on social media that their bill will be covered by a charity after they make a partial payment by way of a wire transfer.
Officials said, "Chattanooga Gas holds itself accountable to customers and communities it serves, which is why it reminds customers that it will never use aggressive or intimidating tactics to pressure them into making a payment toward their natural gas bill.
• By phone: When a customer service representative contacts a customer by phone regarding the status of their account or to discuss payment, they will identify themselves as a Chattanooga Gas employee. To verify legitimacy, customers can request that the representative confirm information about their account that only they and the company would know, for example:
- The date of their last payment;
- The amount of their last payment; or
- Their account number.
• By email: We will never ask for account or credit card information in an email. Customers can safely access and make changes to their account information and payment methods using our My Account online portal."
Customers who suspect or experience fraud should contact local authorities, and then call the customer care center phone number listed on their billing statement. And, customers who want to confirm that a Chattanooga Gas representative is scheduled to perform work at their premise should contact the customer care center at 866.643.4168.
In addition, whenever a field service representative or one of their contractors visits a customer’s home or business, they will provide Chattanooga Gas identification. And, as an additional safety measure to protect customers, anyone who signs up to receive their Keep Me Informed appointment status text messages can access a photo of the technician assigned to perform work at their property.
For more information, visit chattanoogagas.com/fraudprotection and follow them on social media @chattanoogagas and join in the conversation #StopScams.