By Elesha George
Scammers are using the Antigua Public Utilities Authority’s (APUA) insignia to trick customers into believing that they have won gifts and other electronic devices from the company.
“Over the last month or so, APUA has been the target of online impersonators. There’ve been a couple of competitions reported to us where persons have received notifications of these competitions and that they would have won handsets,” said the company’s Public Relations Officer, Sharifa George.
One push message for example was guised as a customer reward programme, luring people into believing that they had won a Samsung Galaxy S10.
The message asked the customer for shipping and contact details and for a fee of $1-$5 for delivery.
The act is a cybercrime known as phishing, in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.
The latest electronic message to involve APUA is a memo that has been trending on social media, purporting to be from staff and management of the utility company.
The memo, although distinguished as a gag joke, adorns the logo and name of APUA and addresses customers, advising them that if they ever drank from the standpipes when they were younger, their immune system is already stronger than they think.
It however goes on to say that “after careful consideration, our water has been chosen by the minister of health as part of a top-secret government programme aimed at finding the cure for this devastating virus”.
The post bears the watermark of Troll Antigua, an entertainment Facebook page.
“Most recently we’ve been the target of Troll Antigua. We recognise that this is some sort of entertainment value but this is a serious matter considering what is going on globally, regionally and even locally,” George explained.
“APUA would like to reassure its customers that the water produced is safe for consumption. We are in keeping with the standards outlined by the World Health Organization for potable water and we continue to do our best to produce and distribute that water consistently,” she added.