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Empower yourself against utility scams

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You get a call saying your electricity or water will be shut off unless you pay a past due bill. You may not think you have a past due bill. But the caller sounds convincing, and you can’t afford to ignore it, especially if you’re running a small business.

Actually, you can’t afford to believe it.

The FTC has been hearing about scammers impersonating utility companies in an effort to get your money. Here are some warning signs of a utility scam:

  • If you know you already paid, stop. Even if the caller insists you have a past due bill. That’s a big red flag.
  • Never give out your banking information by email or phone. Utility companies don’t demand banking information by email or phone. And they won’t force you to pay by phone as your only option.
  • Did the caller demand payment by gift card, cash reload card, wiring money or cryptocurrency? Don’t do it. Legitimate companies don’t demand one specific method of payment. And they don’t generally accept gift cards (like iTunes or Amazon), cash reload cards (like MoneyPak, Vanilla, or Reloadit), or cryptocurrency (like bitcoin).

If you get a call like this, here are some things you can do:

  • Concerned that your bill is past due? Contact the utility company directly using the number on your paper bill or on the company’s website. Don’t call any number the caller gave you.
  • Never give banking information over the phone unless you place the call to a number you know is legitimate.
  • Tell the FTC. Your reports help us fight these scams. And report it to the real utility company. If you already paid, tell the payment provider – such as the wire transfer or gift card company. You may not get your money back, but it’s important to tell them about the scam.
  • Find out how you can protect yourself and your business from scams.

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Tagged with: scam
Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Comments

ACCESS MY ACCOUNTY.

My comment is on this isure is I submitted my data to this financial company through this email address applications@ criticalfinancing. com on this date sept 13 2018 noting has been hard please I need your advice God bless

Thank you for this information. It is very useful.

It's difficult to know if a phone number or website is safe. If the web address begins with 'https' is that for certain safe, or can even that be curupt?!

9/17/2018
If you have an answering service on your telephone just record the following: "I am monitoring my calls, please state your business and leave your name and number." If it's a scammer calling they will just hang up. It saves a lot of time running to the phone and talking to the scammer. If you recognize the person then you can answer.

Actually, I have taken it a step further. I got tired of having to delete all the hang ups from my answering machine, so now, if I am in range of the telephone, I check the caller ID. If I don't know the number, I simply hang up while it is still ringing. I've done this for several years and only hung up on two legit calls in error - and they just called back, so then I did answer. It also feels so empowering to hang up the phone!! Good luck!

Thanks again

I got switched to a low rate company and at the end of the rate they charged 3X as much! The state utility commission will not do anything unless I fill out paperwork and go to court before a judge. They are getting big kickbacks and screwing the consumers here in Illinois!

I just don't answer my phone anymore unless I know who it really is. I got Microsoft today 2x so numerous that that they call and I don't answer and then they call again. Sick of it is mild wording.
I as like others get it every day. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!
If I'm watching the TV it always says OK. What is with that? It isn't ok I know all of them.

I work for a church. I received a call this morning from a guy pretending to be from APS (our local electricity provider). He gave an amount due, phone number to call (800#) and that our electricity would be shut off in one hour if we didn't pay it. I immediately called APS using the phone number on their official website - and verified that our account was in good standing. Be careful out there! Scammers everywhere.

I periodically UTILITIES BILLS (WATER Bill) lost in the MAIL 2 to 3 TIMES A year. TALK to the WATER COMPANY AND POST MASTER GENERAL eventually double paying each time. ALL OTHER BILLS MAKE IT TO THEIR DESTINATIONS FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS. I'M ON DISABILITY AND FIX INCOME THIS GOT TO STOP HELP

I received a call the same way. But I ran the number online and the scammers were tapping into a real electric co. in Los Angles and I'm in Texas. I notified both my and LA electric companies. Strangely trying to report it the authorities has been difficult. So be careful, and remember most businesses DO NOT contact you by phone! So if you get a call think twice, hang up, and call the number on your bill to verify ANYTHING!

here is a good one.In the hospital for 6 months due to quadbypass surgery.I get out and here come all the bills.I look at the bills and half of them are from DR'S that I do not know.I ask who are you they say Oh I came to see you once when your dr was away.I was working but my pay was every two weeks and it was low wages.I finally got letters from a lawyer for payments I could not afford monthly.Finally a lawyer contacted me and told me to file for bankruptsy or I will be paying that lawyer the rest of my life. which I did .Problem solved.

UTILITY FRAUD
Today I got a call from 1-800-340-0680 saying I owed $500 in unpaid electric bills. I was up to date. DO NOT CALL THAT NUMBER.
100% FRAUD. They say not to pay on line and to ONLY pay them over the phone. HANG UP.

In the city of Rochester, MN the utility board gets paid off to acquire property

I got sucked into a scam yesterday. I’m very angry because not only am I out of a big chunk of money, but I felt I endangered my baby by even speaking with these thieves!

Lets set up fake information to scam the scammer? Lets give them lots of fake info. Lots of it that will lead them right to law enforcement.

Relieved a call from (800) 617-9310 informing me that my electricity was about to be shut down for nonpayment. I asked them how could this be when I had not received a bill or disconnection notice. The guy on the phone said he was the manager and could assist me with paying my bill. He requested that I go down and get a gift card for $ 489.00 to cover what I owed. As soon as I heard that I knew it was a scam. No one pays bills by gift cards. I told him this was a scam and do not call me again. Please Do not fall for this

UTILITY SCAM....
Got a call today from a "FPL" (954-797-5000) letting me know my power was going to be suspended due to a problem with my account. He wanted me to pay my utility bill because it was going to be disconnected in 45 minutes.... SCAM... called FPL and reported it.
BE CAREFUL if you call that number it has an FPL recording...

888-582-8885. pretending to be LADWP. Watch out.

I received a phone call purporting to be from Dep of Water and power. they were going to cut off my power; the usual.
here is the number: 1-818-771-2212
please do something about it
thank you

Received phone call this morning supposedly from an Entergy rep advising me that they were about to disconnect electric service because of 3 months non-payment. The caller provided a number (800-251-7050) for their Billing and Finance Dept for me to call to get things sorted out. I smelled a scam right away but decided to play along to get more information for others who might get called.
First I Googled the number and it is registered to the Breakthrough Learning Institute in NC. Then I called the real Entergy Billing number that I found online and confirmed that my account was up to date.
Then I called the 800 number the scammer provided and the guy who answered knew my name and address. I told him that I had already confirmed payment status with the online Entergy number and then I asked why they going to disconnect service. Can you believe - he asked why I was calling him if I had already contacted the online Entergy number ..... then he hung up.

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