ORANGE, Conn. — Sept. 24, 2020 — United Illuminating (UI) reminds customers to be alert for utility imposters using fake threats of service disconnection to scam customers.
Typically, a scammer posing as a UI representative calls a customer and claims a crew is on the way to disconnect service unless an immediate payment is made, usually via hard-to-trace prepaid debit or gift cards. The imposter may use “spoofing” technology to make it seem like the call is coming from the company, and will provide a separate call-back number so the customer can complete the transaction after obtaining the card.
UI is not currently disconnecting customers for nonpayment due to the pandemic. As it begins to resume regular collections activities after Oct. 1, the company will follow a process that includes advance notification and direct outreach ahead of a scheduled service disconnection. UI accepts multiple forms of payment and will never insist on payment via a gift card or prepaid debit card.
The company's representatives work with customers and can help them avoid service disconnection, even when there is a significant balance due.
Through Nov. 1, any residential or business customer can enroll in a COVID Payment Program plan that allows them to pay off outstanding balances over a period of up to 24 months without penalty, interest or down-payment. Enrolled customers are protected from service disconnection for the duration of the plan if they stay current on payments.
Residential customers with qualifying financial or medical hardships may also be eligible for seasonal service protection, as well as energy assistance that can help them reduce the total balance due. Customers struggling to manage their bills or who have medical concerns should call the company to learn about available options.
Any UI customer who suspects a scam should hang up and call the company at the number listed on their bill or on the company’s website to determine whether there is a payment issue. (The company never performs service disconnections when the Customer Care Center is closed.)
If the scammer provided a call-back number, the customer should relay that to the Customer Care representative so the company can attempt to have the phone line shut down and disrupt the scam. Customers can also report phone scams to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, at www.ic3.gov.
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