Lawrence’s electric utility provider is reporting a surge in phone scams using false information to gather credit card information from customers.
In a Wednesday press release, Evergy said customers have reported phone calls from someone fraudulently claiming to be a company representative. The caller explains that the customer has been overcharged on an electric bill, and then requests a credit card number to issue a refund.
These calls are not from Evergy. The company asks that individuals use the Customer Contact Center to verify calls before giving any kind of personal information over the phone. Evergy also states that the company does not engage in door-to-door sales, and any service person or employee will be driving a company vehicle, wearing branded clothing, and carrying identification.
Evergy reports variations on the scam where the caller tells the victim that a payment has bounced, and they are required to pay immediately with a prepaid card. The company said this type of payment is never required, and calls regarding past-due accounts are not made on the day of disconnection.
The Federal Communication Commission said that in general, scams increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part because of an increase in online commerce, but also leveraging financial strain as well as fear and confusion over health concerns.
The Federal Trade Commission has highlighted several common indicators that a phone call may be fraudulent. Scammers frequently identify themselves as a representative from a familiar government agency or company, and report either a problem or a prize. They pressure the victim to act immediately, sometimes using threats of legal action. They often require a specific form of payment, demanding information or asking the victim to transfer funds.
Evergy customers with questions or concerns are asked to call 1-800-383-1183. Customers can also review their account status online through the Evergy website.
Scam victims should report crimes to the Lawrence Police Department at 785-832-7507 or the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 785-841-0007. The Douglas County District Attorney’s Office monitors activity in the area and maintains a Scams page on its website.
More information about phone scams, how to identify them, and what to do if you are a victim can be found on the FTC Consumer Advice page. Information about scams specific to COVID-19 can be found on the FCC’s Robocall Scams site.
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