Illinois American Water steps up
customer education on imposter utility scams
Company gears up for National Utility Scam
Awareness Week on November 13-17
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[November 16, 2017]
Illinois American Water
today announced efforts to stand with its fellow water, electric and
natural gas utilities and respective trade associations in support
of Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a consortium of more than
100 U.S. and Canadian utilities. UUAS will observe the second annual
Utility Scam Awareness Day, on Wednesday, November 15, as part of a
weeklong advocacy and awareness campaign, November 13–17. Illinois
American Water joined UUAS to help expose the tactics scammers use
to steal from utility customers and educate customers on how to
Many water, electric and natural gas customers throughout the
country are being targeted by impostor utility scams each day.
Scammers typically use phone, in-person, and online tactics to
target customers. Scammers pose as water, electric or natural gas
company employees and sometimes threaten that customers’ services
will be shut off if they fail to make an immediate payment.
Scammers can be very convincing and often target those who are most
vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income communities.
They also aim their scams at small business owners during busy
customer service hours. However, with the right information,
customers can learn to detect and report these predatory scams.
“Impostor utility scams can be highly profitable to scammers and
financially detrimental to consumers,” said UUAS Executive Director
and former Texas Utility Consumer Advocate Sheri Givens. “To prevent
future crimes, it is important to educate community leaders and
consumers on how to spot, avoid, and report scams.”
“It is extremely rare for a utility employee to show up at a
customer’s home without an appointment. However, if someone comes to
your door claiming to be from the local utility and you are not
expecting them, do not let them inside without proper photo
identification,” said Illinois American Water Vice President of
Operations Mike Smyth.
How Customers Can Protect Themselves:
Illinois American Water reminds customers that its service personnel
wear uniforms, drive company-branded vehicles, and wear photo
identification badges with the company’s logo. Customers are urged
to take time to examine the photo identification tag whenever an
Illinois American Water employee arrives at their home or business.
The company does not accept payment at a customer’s house or
business. Residents with any suspicions about individuals claiming
to be utility workers should call 9-1-1, or Illinois American
Water’s customer service center at 1-800-422-2782.
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If customers suspect someone is trying to scam them,
they should hang up, delete the email, or shut the door. They should
then call their utility company at the number on their monthly bill
or the company’s website, not the phone number the scammer provides.
If customers ever feel that they are in physical danger, they should
Signs of Potential Scam Activity:
• Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer
his or her utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected
if a payment is not made – usually within less than an hour.
• Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer
to purchase a prepaid card
– widely available at retail stores – then call them back supposedly
to make a bill payment to his or her utility company.
UUAS is 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 customers.
www.utilitiesunited.org for more information and tips about how
customers can protect themselves from scams.
About Illinois American Water
Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK),
is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing
high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to
approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a
customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research
laboratory in Belleville.
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest
and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly-traded water and
wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,700
dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based
drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an
estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More
information can be found by visiting
[Karen Cotton, Illinois American