Don’t get “tricked” by scammers. Do Your Part. #BECYBERSMART.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month, held every October, is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure everyone in the country has the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.
Scammers never stop and are always looking for new ways to take advantage of those who let their guard down. Their latest tactic: requesting payment through mobile applications.
Scammers find it easy to target unaware consumers by email, text messages, or fake mobile applications. The purpose of these types of cyber targeting is to steal personal information like passwords, credit cards, and account numbers. If scammers get information like this, it could lead to identity theft and loss of money.
Before downloading a mobile application or clicking a link in an email or text message, it pays to verify if what you are downloading or clicking is what you think it is.
Scammer tactics include:
- Sending an email telling you an account is past due and instructing you to click a link to make an immediate payment to avoid disconnection. Or, after contacting you by phone and threatening service disconnection, a scammer might ask you to download and use a payment app.
- Sending an email or text message claiming suspicious account activity or log-in attempts.
- Sending an email or text message asking you to download a mobile application which in turn allows malware on your phone to steal account numbers and private information.
We encourage you to stay vigilant. Scammers often target elderly customers, customers who speak English as a second language, and small businesses at their busiest times (restaurants during the lunch or dinner rush).
Don’t fall victim to a scam! Follow these tips:
- Peoples Gas will never email, call or text you asking you to download an app to make a payment or ask for credit card or debit card numbers.
- Be wary of anyone demanding payment over the phone, email, or text message for a natural gas bill.
- Never give credit or debit card information over the phone, or in an email or text message.
- Know what you owe. Reference your most recent bill or log into your online account to check your account status.
- If you are uncertain about an individual’s association with Peoples Gas, please contact the company for verification at 888.223.0800.
- Peoples Gas team members and contractors working for Peoples Gas are required to carry photo identification cards. If someone claiming to be a Peoples Gas representative visits your home or business, request to see an ID badge or call the company to verify his or her identity.
Helpful information about utility and other types scams, cybersecurity and phishing:
- Download our tip sheet in English or Spanish.
- Common scams and signs and consumer guide from Utilities United Against Scams
- Consumer information about COVID-19 scams from the Federal Trade Commission
- Investment fraud and scam information from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
- COVID-19 phishing and cyber scam information from the World Health Organization
- COVID-19 phishing alert from the United States Secret Service
Please share this information with friends, business owners and members of your family, especially the elderly, who are often victimized by scammers.
If you have been a victim of a scam or were contacted by a scammer, please contact your local law enforcement or Crime Stoppers at 1.800.873.TIPS.