Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Customer Service (M-F 8a-5:30p): 425-783-1000

Utility Scams

Updated August 2018

The PUD reminds customers about potential scams that may be committed over the phone, through mailers, via text messages and by people visiting their home or business. Criminals use various means of solicitation and may claim bills are delinquent, that special funding is available and/or seek financial information from the customer.

You may get a call – or even a visit to your home – claiming you are delinquent on your PUD bill and asking for personal
information or a pre-paid credit card to pay your bill. The PUD does not collect payments at customers’ homes and never calls customers asking for credit card numbers for payment. If you are ever in doubt, ask for PUD ID. For phone calls, ask for the caller’s phone number, and then report it to our Customer Service Department at 425-783-1000.

By Phone

  • Scammers: Will make unsolicited calls to victims stating they are from the utility company and threaten immediate disconnection unless payment is made. At times scammers will be aggressive and claim to know a victim’s utility billing details. Scammers will attempt to obtain the victim’s financial institution information or may request the victim purchase a pre-paid credit card. Scammers also may have access to technology that allows them to display a valid PUD phone number on a victim’s caller ID.
  • PUD: Doesn’t make unsolicited calls to customers threatening immediate disconnection. The PUD may call customers related to their PUD account but will never request financial account information or direct a customer to buy a prepaid credit card or money pack. Any requests for payments will be directed through our established payment channels.
  • When in Doubt: Ask questions of the caller and take notes of what information he/she is requesting. Don’t provide any information about your PUD or financial institution accounts. Hang up and call the PUD Customer Service Department at 425-783-1000 or visit a PUD office to report the call.

In Person

  • Scammers: While rare, a scammer may visit a property and demand immediate payment from a customer to avoid disconnection. The scammer may wear work type clothing to look official and use aggressive techniques to obtain payment or financial institution information.
  • PUD: Employees may visit a property to disconnect service for differing reasons but only after notices have been mailed to the customer. To protect the safety of our customers and employees, PUD representative don’t collect payments at customer properties. Additionally, employees always carry a PUD ID that they are happy to present upon request.
  • When in Doubt: Ask the individual for his/her PUD ID and call the PUD’s Customer Service Department at 425-783-1000 or visit a PUD office to verify.

By Email

  • Scammers: May send emails demanding immediate payment and threatening disconnection. These emails may be unsolicited or received in coordination with a scammer phone call. The notices and attachments may contain fraudulent PUD logos, fabricated disconnection order numbers, and complaint resolution steps. Ways to identify if the email is from a scammer include checking the sender’s email address. If the email is from a domain address other than @snopud.com, then it may be a scam. Look for spelling errors or references to other utility companies or even different creditors as scammers often use the same template email and simply change a couple of fields for their current victim.
  • PUD: Mails disconnection notices to customers and only provides electronic billing & disconnection notices to customers who have signed up for PUD’s SnoPAY service. Any billing-related email from the PUD will always come from an @snopud.com domain email address.
  • When in Doubt: Review any notices or emails carefully and call PUD’s Customer Service Department at 425-783-1000 or visit a PUD office to verify the authenticity of the email.

Here are some examples of scams:

  • 800-725-0910 & Reload Packs (March 2016): A homeowner received a call indicating that her power would be disconnected in 30 minutes if she didn't call 800-725-0910, extension 1000, to verify the amount she owed. She called the number and the greeting sounded legitimate* to her and she was told she owed $1,000 but they would accept $800 in reloadable packs (from Safeway). She went to buy the reloadable packs but then became suspicious and called our published phone number (425-783-1000) to verify. She discovered it was a scam. The PUD does not collect outstanding debt with Reload Packs. (*The greeting states that the company works for the PUD in the state you have an account for but never specifically mentions Snohomish County PUD.)
  • Reload Packs (April 2015): On a Saturday, a restaurant owner receives a call from someone claiming to be from the PUD but calling from a South Carolina area code. The caller informs the owner that he owes $900 to the PUD for unpaid bills. The caller instructs the owner to purchase two $500 Reload Packs. He tells the owner to call him back with the 10-digit number on the Reload Packs or a truck will be sent to disconnect his power later that day. The owner can't reach his accountant to find out why his bills are unpaid. Panicking, he rushes to the bank at closing time and explains his predicament. A bank employee assures him this is a scam. He calls the PUD's customer service direct phone line and hears a recorded message about utility scams. The PUD does not collect outstanding debt with Reload Packs.
  • Green Dot Prepaid Money Card (October 2013): A business manager receives a call from someone claiming to be from the PUD. The caller tells the manager his company owes almost $1,000 to the PUD for unpaid bills. The caller demands the manager get a Green Dot Prepaid Money Pak Card to pay the bill or the utilities will be turned off immediately. The manager believes the ruse, follows the instructions and provides the card number. The manager then realizes he may have been conned and calls 911. Detectives trace the phone number to Kansas City. This is a nationwide fraud aimed at businesses, which has worked several times in Everett. The PUD does not collect outstanding debt with Green Dot Prepaid Money cards. (UPDATE, 6/15): If you purchase your prepaid card from Reloadit, there is a two-hour window allowing you to cancel the transaction.
  • Postcard Scam (April 2012): Vendors are sending postcards that appear as if they are coming from the PUD ("personal information regarding your utility bills"), encouraging customers to attend a dinner where they can learn how to save "hundred to thousands" off their utility bills. The postcard uses a "sample" bill to indicate how much can be saved. This is some kind of national campaign that is not related in any way to Snohomish County PUD. Attached are images of the front and back of the postcard.

    Front:

    Back:

Be wary of offers from businesses promising huge savings on your energy bill, particularly if they reference what you paid on previous bills. The PUD does not share your account information with other organizations without your consent. If you have questions about an energy-efficiency offer, call PUD Customer Service.

Related Information

Customer Service:

425-783-1000
(M-F, 8am to 5:30pm, except for holidays)

Toll-free:

1-877-783-1000
Western Washington & outside Everett