Scammers threaten to shut off power to Hawaiian Electric customers

Hawaiian Electric is warning about recent scams, including ones threatening to immediately shut off power to customers if payment isn’t made.

A news release from the utility said it will never threaten immediate disconnection. During the pandemic, past-due customers receive mailed payment reminders, courtesy calls, email and other communications before any disconnection notice is sent.

In some recent cases, scammers have contacted real estate agents and threatened to immediately shut off power to listings if payment wasn’t made.

Scammers provided real estate agents with a phony Hawaiian Electric contact number to give to clients. One customer called and was told to pay more than $800 or face disconnection. The customer spoke to an “agent” and “accountant,” and also received an email with a Hawaiian Electric logo and a QR code to make payment. When the customer said payment would be made on Hawaiian Electric’s website, the scammer asked for a wire transfer. That raised a red flag and the customer contacted Hawaiian Electric.

Hawaiian Electric doesn’t request wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, gift cards or bitcoin to pay bills, the news release said.

A list of the company’s authorized payment methods is available at hawaiianelectric.com/paymentoptions.

The company said customers also should also be vigilant when opening Hawaiian Electric emails. While the company does send emails with payment reminders or company news, it will never ask for credit card numbers or other personal information.

In one recent scam attempt, a business received what looked like a legitimate email using the name of an actual Hawaiian Electric employee. The fake email alerted the customer that the company had changed its electronic banking information. The business contacted Hawaiian Electric to confirm and learned it was a scam.

Customers who receive similar emails or suspect a scam should report it to customer service or file a fraud report online at hawaiianelectric.com/stopscams.


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