CMP Warns Customers About Payment Scams

Customers urged to be wary of requests for personal information or immediate payments

Augusta, ME — February 3, 2021 Central Maine Power (CMP) is urging customers to be wary of scammers who call and threaten to disconnect service unless the customer makes an immediate payment.

The company has received recent reports from customers of scammers threatening to disconnect service unless the customer makes an immediate payment over the phone using a prepaid debit card.

 With technology developments, these phone scams are increasingly more sophisticated.  Caller ID may falsely indicate that the call is coming from the utility. Scammers may even provide a callback number that answers with a recorded greeting similar to CMP’s customer service line.

Typically, the caller informs the customer a crew is on the way to shut off service unless an immediate payment is made. The perpetrators may tell the customer that the company had not received a recent payment or had incorrectly processed a payment, so the customer must pay again.

The scammer often demands the customer purchase a prepaid debit card (Green Dot is a common brand) to make the payment over the phone. Occasionally, the scammer will demand a payment in cash and advise that a company representative will be coming in person within the hour to collect it.

Customers should be cautious of making payments over the phone, and should recognize the red flags:

  • It doesn't add up. CMP doesn't call customers for payment if the account is in good standing. If a customer is in arrears, CMP will call customers to request payment and may also offer payment arrangements if needed and advise of assistance that may be available.
  • Timing and urgency: CMP will never demand an immediate payment to avoid disconnection “within an hour” or “within 45 minutes”, two common customer reports.

If a customer falls behind on payments, CMP sends a letter and will call the customer to discuss their balance due, an affordable payment arrangement and possible sources of assistance before taking any steps that may lead to a possible disconnection. CMP does not disconnect service on Fridays, weekends or state holidays. Between November 15 - April 15 CMP will not disconnect residential customers without explicit permission from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.  And

  • Demanding a specific form of payment: CMP accepts a variety of payment types, including checks via phone call, credit cards for residential customers, payments at authorized payment agencies, payments on our secure mobile app or on our website, and more. If a caller insists on payment via a prepaid debit card, especially a specific brand of prepaid card, it is a scam.

Here are steps customers can take to protect themselves:

  • Check your account status. Create an online profile at the CMP website as a quick way to check your account status, download the CMP mobile app from the app store, or call CMP's customer service line: (800.750.4000 for residential customers or 800.565.3181 for business customers). Do not use callback numbers provided by unsolicited callers. Our customer representatives will verify account status and work with customers to resolve any issues.
  • The identity of any CMP employee can be verified by asking for their photo ID card (if in person) or their employee number, then contacting CMP at 800.750.4000 to verify their identity and the nature of their business. Our employees are happy to comply with an identity verification request.
  • Protect personal information. Customers should never share personal or financial information, including outstanding balances, without first verifying whom they're speaking with.
  • Collect evidence. Customers who suspect a scam are urged to get the name and number from caller ID.  If available, write down any call-back number provided, and take notes on what the caller said. This will help investigators work with authorities to shut down the scam.
  • Report it. Customers should report the scam to local law enforcement, and the Federal Trade Commission ( ftc.gov ) This will help authorities shut down scams and prosecute the scammers.
  • Enroll in CMP's AutoPay service. The amount due is automatically deducted from a bank account each month, so customers will have no concerns about an outstanding balance. More information on this payment option is at Autopay

Additional information on avoiding scams can be found at CMP's website: Payment Scam.

 

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About CMP: Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., is Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution utility. Established in 1899 and based in Augusta, Maine, CMP serves approximately 636,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine. It operates approximately 23,500 miles of distribution lines and 2,900 miles of transmission lines. Over the last decade, the company has invested approximately $3.5 billion in Maine system infrastructure. In 2019, CMP was named Large Business of the Year by the Kennebec Valley United Way. For more information, visit www.cmpco.com.

About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with approximately $36 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. With headquarters in Orange, Connecticut, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,600 people. AVANGRID supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2019 and 2020 by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.


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