US energy company Entergy operates in the Deep South of the United States, engaging in the production and retail distribution of electric power to approximately 3 million customers, including a significant number in Arkansas. However, taking advantage of growing popularity of digital transactions, online hoaxes and financial scams are also rising. Now, Entergy Arkansas issues cautionary notice about online frauds taking place in its name and suggests preventive measures to protect its customers.
Some of the common scams and frauds that occur in the name of Entergy are:
1. Customers often rely on search engines for quick answers about utility services. However, scammers take advantage of this by creating deceptive websites and phone numbers that appear legitimate, tricking customers into fraudulent activities. To avoid falling into these traps, Entergy Arkansas advises customers to only trust information from Entergy’s official sites.
2. One common online scam involves customers using incorrect phone numbers found online to pay their bills. The scammers exploit this by making fraudulent charges and even establishing fake accounts with Entergy, resulting in multiple unauthorized charges.
3. Scammers impersonating Entergy representatives call customers, threatening to disconnect electricity if an immediate payment for a past due bill is not made. They employ spoofing technology to mimic the local utility’s name and number on caller ID, making detection challenging. The scammers coerce victims into transferring funds electronically or using prepaid cards.
4. The occurrence of texting scams, also known as smishing, is increasing. These fraudulent messages appear authentic as scammers possess your personal details like your name and address. In certain instances, they even mention the name or position of someone supposedly representing Entergy, making the text seem more official.
5. Another commonly used tactic, similar to smishing, is text message phishing, where mobile phone users receive texts requesting sensitive information like banking details, credit card and debit card information or social security numbers.
6. As the number of online customers increases, the occurrence of digital scams through email, text, and social media is also on the rise. Scammers often employ deceptive methods such as sending authentic-looking utility bills, urging immediate payment.
7. Scammers imitate Entergy and contact community members offering fake job opportunities, asking for personal information or payment. They use Entergy phone numbers to appear legitimate, making the scams more believable. Employment scams are on the rise and can deceive individuals seeking employment with Entergy.
8. While less common, in-person imposters may pose as utility workers and attempt to gain access to properties under false pretences.
Entergy emphasizes that they will always contact customers through phone or written notice if property access is required.
Legitimate Entergy employees will have branded uniforms and badges. Customers who are unsure should call Entergy to verify the presence of a service representative. Entergy will never demand payment at the door to reconnect power.
It is crucial to bear in mind that if a text demands immediate payment with the threat of service disconnection, it is not Entergy but a scam. Refrain from sending them any money.
To conduct legitimate business, customers should call and speak with an Entergy customer service representative or visit the official website for services such as bill payment, account management, and service requests.
How can you Protect Yourself?
Ventrell Thompson, Vice President of Customer Service at Entergy Arkansas, emphasizes the importance of remaining vigilant against scammers who employ sophisticated tactics to access personal information and cause harm. Customers are urged not to share any personal information without verifying the source first.
To protect personal information from scammers, Entergy Arkansas provides the following tips:
- Use authorized payment options: Only use the authorized payment methods available on the official website for bill payments.
- Avoid sharing banking information: Entergy will never demand banking information via email or phone. Customers should not provide this information to anyone claiming to be a representative.
- Beware of unconventional payment requests: Entergy does not demand or accept payment through gift cards, cash reload cards, wire transfers or cryptocurrency.
- Avoid sharing personal information: Protect your personal information by avoiding sharing it via email or phone. Avoid providing personally identifying details such as your social security number or Entergy account number to unsolicited callers.
- Unauthorized requests: Be cautious of unsolicited callers claiming to represent Entergy. Remember that genuine Entergy representatives will never call you to request personal information over the phone.
- Disconnect policy: Entergy follows a policy of providing significant advance notice before disconnecting services. Therefore, sudden service disconnections without prior warning are not a standard practice.
- Bill payments: Exercise caution when making payments for your Entergy bills. Do not use gift cards, cash reload cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency as payment methods. Entergy does not demand or accept gift cards like iTunes or Amazon, cash reload cards like MoneyPak, Vanilla, or Reloadit, or cryptocurrency like bitcoin.
By following these guidelines, you can help safeguard your personal information and ensure secure interactions with Entergy by avoiding any online scam.
Entergy Arkansas issues cautionary notice about online frauds. If customers believe they have fallen victim to a scam, they are encouraged to report it to the appropriate authorities, such as local police, the state attorney general’s office, or the Better Business Bureau. If an Entergy account has been affected, customers should contact 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) to speak with a customer service representative.
Source: Entergy Official News Release