Consumer Alert: Beware of surge of HECO scams during COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Scammers are taking advantage of Hawaiian Electric customers during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

These con-artists are sending fake messages out regarding overdue bills.

Hawaiian Electric says it’s seen a surge of robocalls and smishing texts to customers since the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Many of these fake messages are in regards to overdue bills.

“We just want them to know we don’t go door to door, we don’t text, we’re not going to call you, we’re not going to tell you or threaten you with disconnection at this point,” said Shannon Tangonan, Communications Manager at Hawaiian Electric.

In one case, an Oahu customer fell victim to a HECO impersonator and ended up paying $300 using the “Cash App.”

“The customer actually questioned but the scammer was very insistent saying ‘no we’ve changed the manner of payment,’ and it’s very frustrating because we definitely don’t want our customers to get in this situation where the scammers are scaring them into making payments.”

A reminder, HECO is suspending service disconnections through April 17th to help customers facing financial hardship.

“Right now we’re not doing any disconnection so we just want to make sure that customers know that we’re not going to be calling you for payments and we don’t text. That’s not part of our communication program with customers.”

If you do receive any fake calls or texts, you can give HECO a call to file a report.

“Our customer care lines are open. People are answering calls, our representatives are there to answer calls, and we will definitely get you to our security division. They will take a report.”

You can reach HECO’s customer care line by calling (808) 548-7311.

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