HECO reports bill payment scam

There has been a recent spike in aggressive phone scams targeting Hawaii utility customers, and Hawaiian Electric Cos. Is urging customers to “just hang up” in a monthlong campaign.

Maui Electric Co. is a subsidiary of HECO. Tips offered include:

• If receiving a call from someone saying they’re from HECO, MECO or Hawai’i Electric Light demanding immediate payment over the phone or via prepaid debit cards, it’s a scam.

• If the caller says an account is delinquent and threatens to shut off power immediately unless payment is made, it’s a scam.

• If the caller asks to meet to pick up a payment, it’s a scam.

Simply hang up if receiving such a call and dial the customer service number printed on the electric bill or listed on the MECO website. Do not call back the number displayed on caller ID, even if it says HECO, MECO or HELCO.

In recent weeks, the companies have received dozens of fraud reports, with some customers paying hundreds of dollars to phone scammers, the utility said. The scammers have targeted mostly small to mid-size businesses, but residential customers also have been victimized.

Scammers are very persistent and aggressive, insisting that a bill is overdue even if the customer is certain it’s been paid.

For more information, go to www.mauielectric.com/stopscams.