AUSTIN, Texas - City of Austin Utilities is warning customers to remain on alert as they have received an influx of scam call reports.
This week alone, customers have reported 59 scam calls. Unfortunately, four customers fell victim to the scam and sent approximately $1,200 to the scammers.
The scammers pretend to be from Austin Energy or City of Austin Utilities and demand immediate payment within 30-45 minutes to avoid disconnection. In these cases, the suspects are demanding payment via prepaid debit cards or via the Zelle app — something City of Austin Utilities says it has only recently seen reported.
According to Zelle, if you authorized the payment via the app, customers may or may not be able to get their money back. However, customers who sent a scammer money via Zelle are urged to report the scam to Zelle online or by calling 1-844-428-8542 so they can shut the scammers down.
City of Austin Utilities says it has worked to get two toll-free telephone numbers and one landline telephone number associated with recent scam calls disconnected.
What Customers Need to Know:
The City of Austin Utilities Customer Contact Center does not call residential customers with cut-off deadlines.
City of Austin Utility employees will never ask for credit card or wire transfer information over the phone.
While some customers do pay in cash, the City will never demand immediate payment in person with cash, gift card or Bitcoin. The City currently does not accept payment through Zelle.
City of Austin Utilities accepts mail-in or walk-in payments or payments online at www.coautilities.com. See all the ways to pay your City of Austin Utility bill here.
If a City of Austin customer receives a phone call threatening to interrupt service, demand immediate payment, or request credit card or bank account information, hang up and dial 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 and report the incident immediately.
Anyone who has received such a call or email and is uncertain of his or her account status can call the City of Austin Utilities Customer Contact Center at 512-494-9400.