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.
Tagged with: scam
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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.

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.

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