If you receive a phone call, email or text message threatening to turn off your electric or water service unless you immediately provide personal information, call a certain number or pay a certain amount of money using a gift card, it’s a SCAM. Hang up on the caller. If you were contacted by email or text, don’t respond or click on any links.
If someone purporting to represent OUC comes to your home and makes a similar request, that’s a scam, too. Close the door and call police.
Utilities United Against Scams has designated Nov. 16 as Utility Scam Awareness Day, an occasion dedicated to educating customers about attempts to deceive them into paying fictitious utility bills. Most often, the scam is conducted by phone, with your caller ID “spoofed,” or disguised, to show OUC is calling. The caller warns that your utility bill is past due and if you don’t make immediate payment your power will be disconnected. Maybe the caller will ask for a credit card number, Social Security number or your banking information, or suggest you purchase a prepaid debit card and call back with receipt and PIN numbers, resulting in a money transfer.
Scammers do the same things using official-looking emails, perhaps with OUC in the sender’s address field. Disguising an email address is another form of “spoofing,” but this practice is easy to detect by resting your cursor on the address and clicking on the down arrow to reveal the original sender’s account.
Texting is another technology scammers use to defraud unwitting targets. The message may demand that you click on a link or call a number to make a payment or your electricity or water will be immediately cut off.
Regardless of the method, they’re all scams.
Like most utility companies, OUC — The Reliable One won’t threaten to disconnect services unless a customer makes immediate payment. OUC NEVER makes such demands. OUC calls and emails customers to notify them that they are delinquent in paying their utility bill(s). OUC never asks customers for their banking account information, Social Security number, or credit card information. OUC also never sends employees to customers’ homes to collect payment or warn them of disconnection.
OUC employees working in the community are easily identified by the OUC-marked vehicles they drive and their apparel displaying an OUC logo. All employees also wear ID badges on their clothing.
Customers who suspect they’ve been the targets of utility scams should contact OUC at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-423-9018 and notify local law enforcement. Victims of these scams also can file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office at MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling 1-866-9NO-SCAM.
Ways to Pay Your OUC Bill
Customers can pay by phone by calling 407-423-9018 any time of day using the OUC account number listed on their bill, pay online at OUC.com, or pay in person at an OUC authorized location.
Here are some tips for guarding against scams:
- Beware of “spoofing” attempts. They are caller IDs or emails disguised to look like they’re coming from OUC.
- Don’t disclose personal information, Social Security numbers, credit card number or banking information to callers or emailed notices threatening to disconnect your power lest you make immediate payment.
- Don’t click on links in text messages or emails or reply to voice mails that warn you’re about to lose utility services if you don’t make immediate payment.
- Don’t wire money to anyone claiming to represent OUC. OUC does not accept payment via wire transfer.