Hawaiian Electric Warns About Phone Scammers
The utility company has launched a month-long awareness campaign to alert customers about a recent spike in aggressive phone scams target electric customers.
Hawaiian Electric recommends the following tips:
- If you receive a call from someone saying they’re from Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric or Hawaiʻi Electric Light demanding immediate payment over the phone or via prepaid debit cards, it’s a scam.
- If the caller says your account is delinquent and threatens to shut off your power immediately unless payment is made, it’s a scam.
- If the caller asks to meet you to pick up a payment, it’s a scam.
Hawaiian Electric is asking customers who receive a call to hang up and dial the customer service number printed on their electric bill or the number listed on the company’s website.
The company says to not call back the number displayed on the caller ID, even if it says “HECO,” “MECO” or “HELCO.”
The company says that within recent weeks they have received dozens of fraud reports, with some customers paying hundreds of dollars to phone scammers.
The scammers have targeted mostly small to mid-size businesses, but residential customers also have been victimized.
Hawaiian Electric says scammers often call a business during the busiest times, for example, and threaten to shut off electricity if not paid immediately.
While it’s common to see more scams before the holidays, the companies have also noticed more sophistication among the scams, such as the caller ID trick. Scammers are very persistent and aggressive, insisting that a bill is overdue even if the customer is certain it’s been paid.