Feb. 19, 2014: Inland Northwest electric utility companies are being targeted with the latest national scam using email to send bogus energy bills. The scam is not specific to our region and is occurring on a national level.
Avista, Inland Power & Light and Kootenai Electric have all received reports from customers receiving the phishing emails. Rather than referencing a specific utility, the emails are generic and ask customers to view their bill by clicking a link in the email and set up automatic payment plans. This is a broad scam with email addresses likely being pulled from external sources.
If you currently receive electronic bills from your utility and are unsure if the email is legitimate some quick ways to verify the accuracy of the email are to:
- Check the sender. Your electronic bill will come directly from Avista, Inland Power or Kootenai Electric, not from a generic email address.
- Before clicking on the link to view your bill, hover over the link to be sure that it is directing you back to your utility.
- Lastly, do not ever enter personal payment information if you have not logged into your account securely. Avista, Inland Power and Kootenai all require a secure login to keep your personal information safe.
It is always a good idea if you receive an email from a source you don’t know and/or you do not recognize the sender’s email address, to take the following precautions:
Do not open the email which includes malicious links that go to compromised websites hosting malware
Do not respond to the request
Do not click on any links in the email
Do not open any attachments
Do not provide any personal information
Scam attempts occur frequently, so play it safe. Do not provide your confidential information to anyone or fall victim to high pressure tactics for payment. If you’re in doubt about an email, please contact your energy provider’s customer service department.
Customer Service Contact Information
Avista: (800) 227-9187
Inland Power & Light: (509) 747-7151
Kootenai Electric: (208) 765-1200
About Avista Utilities
Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 364,000 customers and natural gas to 321,000 customers in a service territory that covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.5 million. Avista Utilities is an operating division of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA). For more information, please visit www.avistautilities.com.
The Avista logo is a trademark of Avista Corporation.
About Inland Power & Light
Inland Power and Light is a nonprofit electric cooperative providing affordable, safe and reliable electricity to over 39,000 member-owners in 13 counties throughout eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Founded in 1937, Inland Power is the largest electric cooperative in Washington.
About Kootenai Electric Cooperative
Kootenai Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric utility in Hayden, Idaho. The Cooperative provides competitively priced, quality energy services to its members and is governed by an independent seven-member elected Board of Directors. Kootenai Electric has more than 22,000 member accounts and nearly 2,000 miles of electric line in parts of Kootenai, Benewah, Bonner and Spokane counties. For more information visit www.kec.com.
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