Atmos Energy Joins National Consumer Protection Week to Warn Customers of Utility Scams | Atmos Energy
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Atmos Energy Joins National Consumer Protection Week to Warn Customers of Utility Scams

March 7, 2017

Media Contact: Liz Beauchamp 214-206-2816

DALLAS – National Consumer Protection Week kicks off this week, and Atmos Energy is continuing its efforts to remind customers of the tricks scammers use to steal money from customers, and how customers can guard against falling victims to utility scams.

“It is always upsetting to hear from a customer who has been impacted by a scam.  The scammers methods’ change frequently and become more believable.  A healthy amount of vigilance is needed when making a payment,” said Clay Cash, Atmos Energy’s Vice President of Customer Service.

Atmos Energy is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams collaborative consisting of more than 90 gas, electric and water utility companies across the country and Canada. Members of Utilities United Against Scams work across the utility industry and with regulators, law enforcement, and other telecommunications partners to help stop scams targeting utility customers.

Phone scam history

Under the long-running phone scam, a customer receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be an Atmos Energy representative. The scammer warns that Atmos Energy will disconnect the customer’s natural gas service if the customer fails to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe.

Scammers have even duplicated the Atmos Energy upfront Interactive Voice Response system, so when customers call back phone numbers provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate Atmos Energy phone number. Some of these criminals also use caller ID spoofing to replicate Atmos Energy’s customer service number.

Red flags for scam activity

  • The thief 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 in less than an hour.
  • The thief instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to provide the card information to supposedly make a payment to Atmos Energy. Some scammers may request a money wire or money order.
  • The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.

How to protect yourself

  • Atmos Energy never asks or requires a customer with a delinquent account to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
  • Customers have multiple payment options. They can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person.
  • Customers with delinquent accounts 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 Atmos Energy. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.

Customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these thieves, should contact local authorities, and then the Atmos Energy phone number listed on their bill. Visit www.atmosenergy.com/scams for more information.

About Atmos Energy
Atmos Energy Corporation, headquartered in Dallas, is the country's largest, fully-regulated, natural-gas-only distributor, serving over three million natural gas distribution customers in over 1,400 communities in eight states from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the East to the Rocky Mountains in the West. Atmos Energy also manages company-owned natural gas pipeline and storage assets, including one of the largest intrastate natural gas pipeline systems in Texas. For more information, visit www.atmosenergy.com. Atmos Energy can also be accessed through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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