Utility Informs Spanish Speakers to Prevent Phone Scam

Apr 7, 2014

Georgetown Utility Systems is teaming with other utilities in Central Texas to alert customers of a phone scam targeting Hispanic businesses. While Georgetown utility employees have not received recent reports of scam attempts, the cooperative campaign to reach out to Spanish-speaking customers is an effort to prevent future fraud attempts.

In the phone scam reported last summer, callers would identify themselves as utility employees and ask customers to pay past due balances over the phone via “untraceable” credit cards purchased at local stores.

In an effort to raise awareness of these phone scams and how to avoid them, Georgetown Utility Systems is joining with other municipal utilities to inform the Hispanic community. Austin Energy, New Braunfels Utilities, City of San Marcos, and Georgetown Utility Systems are coordinating on a series of Spanish-language public service announcements that will air on KAKW Univision Austin and KTFO UniMas television stations and the 104.3 FM La Jefa Austin radio station. The public service announcements will air for 10 weeks starting this week.

“Georgetown Utility Systems is concerned any time our customers are negatively impacted by the dishonest practices of scammers in the community and want to increase awareness of the issue,” says Leticia Zavala, customer care manager for Georgetown Utility Systems. “We will never call you demanding money or come to your home or business demanding payment. We will only call customers to advise them of a past-due balance.”

Zavala says that if a bill payment is overdue, there is a three-step notification process:

First, late notices are mailed to customers with unpaid balances the day after the billing due date.

Second, an automated phone call is provided to the phone number on the account two weeks after the billing due date.

Third, a second automated phone call is provided to the phone number on the account three weeks after the billing due date.

It is strictly against policy for any customer service representative to accept payment in the field.

Georgetown Utility Systems will never call customers and demand payments over the phone.

If customers have questions about a utility bill, call the Customer Care Center at (512) 930-3640 before giving out financial information regarding your utility account.

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