ST. LOUIS, March 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In observance of National Consumer Protection Week, Ameren is providing tips to customers in Missouri and Illinois to help make them aware of scam artists who are attempting to defraud them.
Last year an estimated 1,500 Ameren customers reported suspicious activity. The majority of those incidents were phone calls from scammers who threatened immediate disconnection of utility service unless a payment was made from a pre-paid debit card.
"Our business customers in particular have been recent targets of this scam, however, residential customers must also be vigilant because they are often targeted with a variety of scam tactics as well," said Tim Reagan, senior director of corporate security at Ameren. "Scammers claim they will disconnect service within the hour if a payment isn't made. This is not a practice or policy of Ameren. In fact, we give our customers the opportunity to make payment arrangements and would never demand a payment in this manner."
Ameren offers these tips to protect customers against scammers:
- Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or sends an email requesting this information. Ameren never demands personal, account or financial information for immediate payment.
- Never let anyone into your home claiming to be from the utility unless they show proper Ameren badge identification. Ameren employees are not allowed to take payments in the field.
- Never open email attachments unless you've contacted Ameren for specific information. Ameren never sends emails with attachments included, unless you've contacted the company to specifically request information.
Ameren continues to work with federal, state and local authorities to investigate utility scams. "We continue to safeguard customer information, but it's up to our customers to recognize the warning signs so scams can be prevented," said Reagan.
If you suspect someone is impersonating an Ameren employee, end the conversation and immediately call Ameren Illinois at 1.800.755.5000 or Ameren Missouri at 1.800.552.7583. Customers can also follow Ameren on social media to receive the latest updates on fraudulent account activity.
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric delivery and transmission service as well as natural gas delivery service while Ameren Missouri provides vertically integrated electric service, with generating capacity of over 10,200 megawatts, and natural gas delivery service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois develops regional electric transmission projects. Follow the company on Twitter @AmerenCorp. For more information, visit Ameren.com.
SOURCE Ameren Corporation