Phone scam target Avista customers in region

LEWISTON, ID - Multiple Avista customers on the Palouse and in the LC Valley have received fraudulent calls from someone demanding money for late payments.

Avista said an individual claiming to be an employee has been making aggressive calls to customers over the last couple of days, instructing them to immediately pay their utility bill through pre-paid cards, or at a non-Avista location. Avista officials said you can tell it's a scam if your phone doesn't recognize Avista's number on the caller ID.

"If it's not caller ID'd as an Avista call, immediately be suspect," said Avista Regional Business Manager Paul Kimmell . "And then they're welcome to call us and verify."

Avista said if a customer has an overdue payment, they'll send out a notification in the mail.

The utility company does not ask for money or personal information over the phone, and they're asking customers to report any suspicious calls they receive from people who claim to be Avista employees. Avista's 800# is(800) 227-9187.