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State Senator

Joan Hartley

Representing Waterbury, Middlebury & Naugatuck

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Senator Joan Hartley Recognizes National Utility Scam Awareness Day

Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury) and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz announced that today is National Utility Scam Awareness Day. The day falls in the middle of a week-long effort to shed light on common impostor utility-related scams and tactics used against unsuspecting consumers.

Utility companies and advocates across the country are joining forces through Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a consortium of over 100 electric, natural gas, and water companies in the U.S. and Canada, to educate and empower consumers on how best to protect themselves from illusive practices that take advantage of ratepayers. Scammers are becoming experts at deceiving trusting customers and ultimately stealing their money.

UUAS has published a fact sheet and a consumer guide designed to educate consumers on avoiding scams. A copy of the fact sheet is attached and also available on their website: www.utilitiesunited.org. Its publication, Consumer’s Guide to Impostor Utility Scams, is also available on the site.

Some of the most common scams include a threat to disconnect service unless an immediate payment is made, unsolicited telephone calls, a push for personal or financial information, and utility company misrepresentation. Scams are changing regularly and scammers are sophisticated in their approach, even donning a fake utility company uniform or identification badge in many cases.

I strongly urge utility customers to protect personal information, including their account numbers. Utility company representatives generally do not solicit door-to-door or via telemarketing calls. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to door-to-door and telemarketing solicitors, and ask door-to-door solicitors for identification. If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam or been exposed to a marketing scam or deceptive practice, report it to your utility company and to Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA),” said Consumer Counsel Katz.

“Scammers are skilled at tricking consumers through their phone, in-person, and internet tactics targeted at their pocketbooks, property, and personal information,” stated Sheri Givens, Executive Director of Utilities United Against Scams. “Together, through your utility companies’ and state consumer advocates’ efforts, we can educate communities nationwide on the types of scams targeting them in hopes of preventing them from becoming a victim.”

Electric, natural gas, and water companies are faced with handling customer service complaints and questions around many of these scams and are urging their customers to educate themselves before agreeing to anything.

To report suspicious activity to PURA, consumers may file a letter in either electronic or paper form with PURA’s Executive Secretary at Ten Franklin Square, New Britain, Connecticut; e-mail PURA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or call 1-800-382-4586 (toll free within Connecticut), 1-860-827-2622 (outside Connecticut), or TDD 860-827-2837.

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