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Utility company calling? Don’t fall for it.

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Every day, millions of people who have lost their jobs are making difficult choices about how to pay their bills. As the Coronavirus continues to spread, scammers are taking advantage of people’s heightened economic anxiety. Their latest ploy is posing as representatives from utility companies to dupe people out of their cash and personal information by convincing them their utilities will be shut off if they don’t pay. 

If you get a call from someone claiming to be your utility company, here are some things you can do:

  • Thank the caller for the information. Then firmly tell them you will contact the utility company directly using the number on your bill or on the company’s website.
  • Even if the caller insists you have a past due bill or your services will be shut off, never give banking information over the phone unless you place the call to a number you know is legitimate.
  • 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.
  • If the caller demands payment by gift card, cash reload card, wiring money or cryptocurrency, it is a scam. Legitimate companies don’t demand payment by gift cards (like iTunes or Amazon), cash reload cards (like MoneyPak, Vanilla, or Reloadit), or cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin).
  • Tell your friends and loved ones about the scam so they can protect themselves. If you got this scam call, others in your community probably did to. We know when people hear about scams, they’re much more likely to avoid them.                                                                      

Tell the FTC. Your reports help the FTC and our law enforcement partners stop scammers.

Find out more about how you can protect yourselfand your businessfrom scams.

Tagged with: coronavirus, fraud, imposter
Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Comments

I received one of these calls yesterday, and when I started questioning the person on the phone, they hung up.

Unfortunately this scam was used on my dad. Fortunately I was the one who answered the phone and knew right away it wasn't a legitimate call from our electric company. When you are up to date with your account don't question but stand firm and let them know you will phoning the electric company personally. Any big Corporate business that furnishes a service usually is unable to take payments other than via automated systems. Most elderly don't want to get help with an issue such as this but every age range should know that this can happen to Anyone and before taking any monetary action seek the advice of the supposed company calling directly and others you trust.

Thank you for all the great info!!

I received many call for people saying, they are from Nevada Power and they go to cut my service if I don't pay to them. I don't answer the phone my answer machine do for me. When I want to make sour, I look the phone number on the statement or check on the internet for the phone number. Then I call to the place.

I got a call from someone who stated they were from Consumers Energy and I needed to call back with my account number. I let it go to the answering machine and then started checking. The number's area code was Florida and I live in Michigan. I checked the web site and there was an 800 number. It also helped that I live in a condo and the association pays the gas bill with association dues. No one has to answer, let it go to voice mail, then start checking.

I had one call our office a while back threatening to cut off our power if I didn't pay with a gift card within 30 minutes. I knew it was a scam, particularly since they were going to cut it off at our old address that we had moved from 3 years prior. So I decided to try and keep him on the phone as long as possible to keep him from calling others. After about 20 minutes, he was mad so I told him I knew he was a scammer and the next sound was "click"

I received a fake Puget Sound Energy telephone call today 7/16 stating I was 90 days past due on my power bill and an electrician was on their way to turn our power off within 30 minutes and I needed to make a payment today or else my power would be shut off. I hung up and called PSE directly and PSE told me this was a scam and to file a consumer complaint.

I received a call and it was a recorded message stating about a past due for the months of April and May. "LOL!" I live in a complex where the utilities are paid by the complex owner. "LOL!" Also, it stated "to speak with a representative please press 1. When I did press 1 the call got disconnected. "SCAM!!!!!" "LOL!"

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