HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaiian Electric is warning its customers to beware of thieves using new tricks to get potential victims into using prepaid cards.
While the volume of scam reports has not spiked, HECO wants to raise awareness of this new trick.
Get Hawaii’s latest news sent to your inbox, click here to subscribe to News 2 You, a daily newsletter.
On Tuesday, April 13, HECO announced that scammers are pretending to be their workers and threatening to disconnect customers’ electric service unless “overdue” bills are cleared with prepaid debit cards. HECO does NOT accept prepaid debit cards.
Recently, a business paid thousands of dollars to a scammer using MoneyPak cards. On a different call, the scammer pretended to be a HECO executive as he attempted to get a customer to pay.
HECO said the scammer told a customer to purchase MoneyPak cards at a local convenience store and warned against telling the cashier that the card was being purchased to pay a utility bill. The scammer advised the customer to instead cite “personal reasons.”
Scammers have figured out that store clerks are now trained to intervene if the customer says they’re purchasing cards to pay a utility bill, HECO said. In this most recent case, the scammer warned the customer that a $50 fee would be charged if he told the clerk that the card would be used to pay a utility bill.
Hawaiian Electric does NOT accept the following types of payment:
- Cash App
- Gift cards
- Prepaid debit cards
HECO customers are reminded that the moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment has been extended through May 31, 2021. Even after this date, it won’t trigger immediate disconnections.
Customers having difficulty paying their bill should submit a payment arrangement request to ensure uninterrupted service.
The infographic below outlines legitimate company collections activities.