BPUB Joins Other Utilities Against Scams

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The Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) is doing its part in the battle against scammers. This nationwide problem is being met by a coalition of utilities called Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), of which BPUB is now a part. The group’s mission is to educate customers about scammers and to put those scammers out of business.

UUAS is an association of more than 130 U.S. and Canadian electric, water and natural gas utilities dedicated to combating impostor utility scams by providing a forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best practices, in addition to working together to implement initiatives to inform and protect consumers.

By joining the UUAS, BPUB will be able to educate its customers on new and ongoing scams nationwide. It will also help to cease operations of nearly 5,000 toll-free numbers being used by scammers when customers report a fraud. It is not uncommon for scammers to call, text or email utility customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection.

As a reminder, BPUB will never send a single notification to a customer within one hour of a service interruption, and they never will ask their customers to make payments with a pre-paid debit card, gift card or any form of cryptocurrency.

Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened during contact with a scammer should contact BPUB and law enforcement authorities.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid falling to victim to a scam:

  1. Never send money or personal information (Social Security, bank account numbers) in response to an unsolicited call or text.
  2. Don’t always trust your caller ID. Many scammers use caller ID-spoofing technologies that will hide the real number or make it seem someone else is calling.
  3. Don’t be afraid to hang up and call back. If the person who called you claims to work for BPUB, don’t be afraid to hang up and call BPUB’s official number. If the call was legitimate, a BPUB employee will still be able to help you.
  4. Be suspicious if a caller requests that you pick up a Green Dot or pre-paid card to make a payment. This is a very common tactic for scammers. BPUB would never ask a customer to pay in such a way.
  5. Don’t feel pressured. Many scammers will try to put a quick time limit on their potential victims, saying that service will be disconnected in an hour if payment isn’t received. BPUB never uses these types of high-pressure tactics and never uses live operators for collections calls. If you receive a call like this, hang up and dial BPUB directly.