Fight back against scams
Scammers are targeting energy consumers everywhere. They often call threatening to shut off power unless payment is made immediately. Or they may call saying you overpaid and ask for credit card or bank info to provide a credit or refund. Some scammers fake or spoof Caller ID information to make the call seem like it is coming from another phone number, even the actual number of the utility company.
Never give out personal information to anyone who calls claiming to be from your utility!
Many of these scam attempts play out like this: the caller poses as a representative of your power provider, says you are behind on the bill, and states a truck is on the way to disconnect your service unless you pay your bill right now – over the phone. Some ask their targets to purchase prepaid cards and call back with the prepaid card number to pay the bill.
Don’t fall for these scams! Any possible disconnection would be preceded by written notice in the mail, possibly with your bill. Your utility will never call demanding immediate payment over the phone. If you get such a call or have questions about your bill, call your utility using the number provided on the bill or online. Do not give the caller your personal information.
Attempts have also been made in person at the door and via email. If your provider needs to replace or service equipment in your home, an employee will contact you in advance. Never respond to an email that claims to be from your utility that provides a link for payment or asks for personal information.
If consumers suspect someone is trying to scam them, they should hang up, delete the email, or shut the door. They should call their utility at the number on their monthly bill or the utility’s website, not the phone number the scammer provides. If consumers ever feel that they are in physical danger, they should call 911.
Consumers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud should also contact local law enforcement authorities. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website (www.ftc.gov) is also a good source of information about how to protect personal information.
Sources for additional information
- Recent FTC scam alerts: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
- Caller ID spoofing: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id
Article and image courtesy of SafeElectricity.org with modifications by Valley Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc.