Protect Yourself from Cyber-Attacks and Scams
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we want to remind our customers to be on alert against possible threats and scams. Whether it’s online, over the phone, or by email, scammers may attempt to steal everything from personal information to money. In some of these situations, criminals may even try to pose as a utility company.
Here are a few quick tips to protect yourself from cyber-attacks and other scams:
- Use strong passwords. Ideally, your password should be a “passphrase” that uses a series of random words strung together. This passphrase should not include easily guessable information, like your name, your children’s names, your company name, or important dates like your birthday. Do not reuse passwords across personal accounts and work accounts, or across third party services. You should also never share your password with anyone!
- Enable multi-factor authentication. Whether for work or personal accounts, always enable multi-factor authentication when possible. Multi-factor authentication requires you to provide two or more verification factors to login. For example, you may input your password and input a code that is sent to you in a text or email.
- Be careful with internet or software downloads. Only install authorized software, and always apply security updates when they are available. Only download software from reputable sources. If you don’t know the source or it looks suspicious, don’t risk it!
- Do not open or click on suspicious emails. “Phishing” emails attempt to get you to click on a harmful link or attachment, download malicious software, or collect personal information. Keep an eye out for anything suspicious with email, including:
- An unusual tone or greeting
- Grammar or spelling errors
- Email addresses or web links that don’t match, or that are different than company the sender works for
- Any sort of threat or sense of urgency
- Suspicious attachments or unusual file types
Peoples will never ask for your Social Security Number or payment account information in an email. If you receive an email requesting information that looks like it is from Peoples, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, submit a contact form online, or call us at 1-800-764-0111 to let us know.
- Seems weird? Hang up. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Peoples and you’re worried it might be a scam, hang up right away and give us a call at 1-800-764-0111.
- Ask to see ID. All Peoples employees are required to wear a photo ID. We will also never go door to door asking to see your gas bill or any other personal information. Always be on alert, and ask to see ID for anyone coming to your door unannounced. If you are uncomfortable, you can always call our customer service number at 1-800-764-0111 and ask to confirm any work being done at your home or business.
- We will never ask you for a gift card. Peoples will never demand that you pay your bill with gift card. Scammers will often instruct customers to go to a specific store and purchase gift cards to make payment.
Safety is our top priority at Peoples – and that includes protecting our customers from potential cybersecurity threats or scams. You can always contact our customer service center at 1-800-764-0111 if you have any questions or concerns, or visit our Cybersecurity page for more information. You can also report possible cybersecurity threats directly to SecurityOperations@essential.co.
And remember…when in doubt, don’t give info out!