Tucson, Ariz. – Tucson Electric Power (TEP) wants to remind customers how they can protect themselves from scammers who try to steal money or personal information while impersonating TEP employees.
Every year, hundreds of TEP customers report being targeted by scammers. Most frequently, customers report receiving a phone call from someone who claims to be a TEP employee and threatens to disconnect service for unpaid bills or damaged electric meters. However, scammers will also use text messages, registered letters and face-to-face visits while trying to take advantage of you.
Scammers often instruct customers to make payment over the phone with a pre-paid money card within a short amount of time – often an hour or less – to avoid shutoff. Callers may sound angry or use an urgent tone of voice to pressure customers into making a payment. Scammers also use software that disguises phone calls or text messages to make them appear as if they’re coming from TEP or a government agency. Other tactics used by scammers include:
- Promoting participation in solar programs and other customer offerings that do not exist. Details about TEP’s current solar programs are available at com/gosolartep.
- Instructing customers to bring a money order or cashier’s check to a specific location, or to pay in bitcoin.
- Claiming customers have overpaid their utility bills and requesting personal bank account information or a credit card number to facilitate a refund.
TEP never uses high-pressure tactics to collect payment. Customers can follow a few simple steps to protect themselves:
Hang up, click ‘delete’ or shut the door. Customers who suspect they are targets of a scam should just hang up the phone, delete suspicious emails and text messages or shut the door on suspicious visitors. Customers concerned for their physical safety should call 911. TEP only contacts customers by phone with automated bill payment reminders as a courtesy, and never demands immediate payment.
Don’t follow scammers’ instructions to buy prepaid cards. TEP never urges customers to pay monthly bills with prepaid money cards. A list of legitimate payment methods, including payment online and through TEP’s mobile app, is available at tep.com/pay-my-bill.
Contact TEP, not the scammers. Customers with questions about their bill or concerns about scams are welcome to contact TEP’s Customer Care team by dialing (520) 623-7711 – the number listed on their monthly bill and tep.com. Don’t simply tap the number to return the call, or call other phone numbers provided by scammers. Customers also can check their account status at any time at tep.com or on TEP’s mobile app.
Recurring safety inspections and routine maintenance performed by our employees require access to electric meters, service lines and other equipment on customer property. Our employees must safely be able to reach this equipment to properly assess its condition and perform work. Here’s how customers can identify TEP employees working near their home or business.
- Look for the TEP logo on the employee’s clothing, safety equipment and vehicle.
- Ask to see the employee’s identification. All employees are required to show their ID badge when asked.
- Call TEP directly at 520-623-7711 to verify the employee’s identity and reason for work in the area.
TEP provides safe, reliable electric service to more than 433,000 customers in Southern Arizona. For more information, visit tep.com. TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy, are subsidiaries of Fortis Inc. (NYSE: FTS), which owns utilities that serve more than 3 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean. For more information, visit fortisinc.com.
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