Phones are abuzz with calls from utility scammers. We’ve seen reports of two basic kinds of utility scams that are costing customers up to thousands of dollars.
Both of these scams start with phone calls from scammers “spoofing” caller ID in order to impersonate a local utility company.
In the first kind of utility scam, the caller claims that they can lower the victim’s utility rates. If the victim agrees, the caller asks for their personal and financial information to complete the rate switch. The caller then takes the information and, instead of slashing the victim’s rates, steals their identity and their money.
In a different scam, callers claim that their victim has to pay an overdue bill or else the electricity will be disconnected. Often, the scammers demand payment with a prepaid card and direct the customer to spill the card details to an 800 number. This demand for immediate payment in a specific form is a big red flag–as some utility companies note, they offer a variety of payment options and usually won’t require payment over the phone.
If you receive these calls, hang up and call the official number of the utility company, listed on your bill or on their official website. Do not call the number the caller gives you or the one that appears on the caller ID.