(PRESS RELEASE/Avista Utilities)
Avista customers throughout its Washington service territory are the current target of utility scammers. Scammers typically move quickly from region to region, looking to
trick as many people as possible into complying with their demands, for financial gain.
Both residential and commercial customers began reporting scam attempts late in the day on Tuesday, and hundreds of scam reports have been received since that time. The majority of scam attempts are occurring via phone and stemming from the following non-Avista phone numbers: 800-341-7967, 866-235-7822, 509-466-8089, and 800-936-6629. Scammers are also using ‘spoofing’ technology to duplicate Avista’s phone number. Some customers have reported automated fraud attempts, as well.
Avista urges customers to be on alert and to continue to report any suspicious requests or interactions with anyone who may be impersonating the company.
Red flags for scam activity
– Harsh threatening language demanding immediate payment for an overdue bill
– Threats of same-day service disconnection
– Inability of the caller to provide specific customer account activity details
– Instruction for customer to purchase a prepaid debit, credit or gift card – often Green Dot or
– Instruction for customer to call back and provide the prepaid card details – which activates the
funds and grants the scammer access to them
– Instruction for customer to call any phone number other than Avista’s customer service
– Unexpected visitor demanding payment and using harsh language to threaten service
How to protect yourself
– Do not provide any personal or financial information to any unknown person or company
– Hang up on suspicious callers and call Avista directly to verify the actual status of your
account and service – including calls that appear to be from Avista, as spoofing
technology can make numbers appear legitimate
– Do not allow anyone into your home if you do not know them or do not have an
appointment with them
– Ask to see the mandatory Avista photo ID badge that all Avista employees and
– Call Avista directly to verify the identity of anyone appearing at your door claiming to
represent our company
Scam activity is becoming increasingly common and occurs across the country. Customers who do fall behind on their payments receive three notifications, prior to service interruption. These
notifications include one mailed past due notice, one mailed final notice and one phone call, all prior to the notice due date. Avista has a strict privacy and security policy. To read more about
Visit Avista’s website at myavista.com/scams for additional tips on how to avoid falling victim to a scam. If something feels odd, it probably is. Customers should call Avista directly at 800-227-9187 to confirm the actual status of their service and account, as well as any planned utility activity on their property.