Contact: Connie Kacprowicz, Communications and Marketing Supervisor, Columbia Water & Light, 573-874-7325 or CSK@gocolumbiamo.com
Electric customers have reported to the City of Columbia that they have been receiving calls from someone posing as a Columbia Water & Light employee. The caller stated that payment information must be given over the phone to avoid being disconnected. This is a similar to a scam that occurred last December.
City of Columbia staff members are not allowed to take any payments over the phone. Utility bills are due 20 days after the date listed on the utility bill. Customers are notified of delinquent bills through a mailed notice and then a phone call is placed one or two days before the utilities are turned off for non-payment. Customers can use the automated phone service to pay their bills (573-874-7694), pay through the city's web site (GoColumbiaMo.com) or pay in person at City Hall. If customers have a question about a bill, the billing office can be reached at 573-874-7380 or by email at email@example.com.
Here are some safety tips to avoid phone scams:
1.) Never send cash, money orders or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.
2.) If you call the number back that called you to verify the information and a recording picks up not stating the name of the company this is a scam.
3.) Make a phone call to verify the information. A thirty second phone call can save you money.
4.) Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. "What guarantee do I have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?"
5.) Be skeptical - Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won't pressure you to make a snap decision.
6.) If someone comes to your home claiming to be with a utility company, ask for identification. Do not let the person in your home.
7.) If something doesn't seem right it's not right.
If you are a victim of a fraud, report it to a law enforcement agency.