Ofc. Teresa Fuller 509.835.4568
Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 1:18 p.m.
Spokane Police and Avista are teaming up to help protect citizens from becoming the victims of a new wave of scams. The Spokane Police Department has received several reports from local businesses that a person, claiming to be from Avista, has called and demanded money in order to keep power from being shut off. SPD and Avista would like to make citizens aware that these high pressure calls demanding money are a scam and citizens are urged to hang up the phone immediately if a call like this is received.
Spokane Police have received reports from several businesses who were contacted by someone claiming to be a representative from Avista. The suspect told each of the businesses they had outstanding bills with Avista and their power would be shut off immediately. Each time, the victims were directed to use a form of payment that could not easily be tracked (i.e. money order). Fortunately, each of them contacted Avista to verify the information and determined it was a scam. Avista has reported that they have received complaints from individual victims as well.
If an Avista customer receives a call from someone claiming to be an Avista representative, demanding immediate payment to avoid same day disconnection of service and using high pressure tactics pr asking for confidential information, end the call without providing any information. Also, note the phone number and contact Avista at 800.227.9187 as the company works to disconnect the phone number of scammers calling customers.
So far, the reports SPD has received are from businesses only, but Avista has received complaints the suspects are also calling individuals to try and scam money from unsuspecting victims. Anyone who believes they have been contacted by the suspects or has been a victim of this scam is asked to call Crime Check at 509.456.2233 to file a police report.
Officer John O'Brien