Scam artists continue to target Austin Energy customers; now asking for cash

November 2, 2018

Utility scam artists are at it again in Austin. More than 40 City of Austin commercial utility customers and a handful of residential customers have received phone calls that show up on caller ID as from the City of Austin and sound as if they are from a call center. The caller tells the customer they owe the utility money and that they must pay in cash or risk having their utilities shut off. However, the address given to the customer is not a City of Austin location or authorized pay station. At least one commercial customer fell for the scam and was directed to a Bitcoin Automatic Teller Machine. The customer filed a police report with the Austin Police Department.

This new scam is similar to other recent scams including phone calls and emails from people claiming to be the City of Austin or Austin Energy, demanding money and threatening to cut off utility services if immediate payment wasn’t made. Over the last month, the City of Austin Utilities Customer Care Call Center has received nearly 350 calls from customers reporting various scams.

What customers need to know

  • If you receive a phone call or email threatening to interrupt service, demanding immediate payment, or requesting credit card, Bitcoin, or bank account information, hang up and dial 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 and report the incident immediately.
  • If you are uncertain of your account status, visit our Online Customer Care Portal or call 512-494-9400.
  • Payments can also be made by calling 1-800-959-7063, which connects the customer to the City of Austin’s automated utilities payment service (Bill Matrix) to make a payment via credit or debit card or electronic check. City of Austin customer service representatives may give customers this web address or phone number but will NOT ask for a customer’s credit card number to accept payment.   
  • Protect yourself. City of Austin staff will never ask you to buy a gift card and read off the numbers to them.
  • While some customers do pay in cash, the city will never call you to demand immediate payment in person with cash.

Customers can make payments at the city’s two walk-in service centers or the following authorized locations: most Austin Austin H-E-B stores, ACE Cash Express, Money Box, Fiesta Mart, and Randall’s. Staff at authorized locations will ask to see the customer’s utility bill statement before accepting payment.

City of Austin walk-in service centers

  • Utility Service Center (east branch) Rosewood-Zaragosa Center, 2800 Webberville Road, Suite 110, Austin, Texas 78702
  • Utility Customer Service Center (north branch), 8716 Research Blvd, Suite 115, Austin, Texas 78758 (near Ohlen Road and Highway 183)
Last Updated: 11/2/18

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