Unpaid Utilities Invoice Scam: How It Works
This scam has been doing its rounds again in the past couple of weeks. One of the oldest in the book, yet it still happens. Before it hits you, read with attention. In this article you’ll learn how it works, how to avoid it, and how to report it.
Imagine this: one evening, the phone rings. It could be the one at home, at your business place, or your mobile. The caller introduces himself as a representative of your heat/gas/ energy provider. He says the company didn’t receive your last month payment and informs you they are stopping their services for your house, if you don’t pay in the next 55 minutes.
Watch the video below to see in action EXACTLY how the pitch scam sounds on your phone:
Utilities Bill Scam Exposed Video
While you’re trying to argue that you – in fact – paid the bill, he keeps saying: “I am sorry, I am looking at your account right now and it says last time payment was received was two months ago. Sorry, if we don’t receive the payment by tomorrow, we will stop heating your house”. He then offers you the option of paying over the phone, asking for your credit card number.
As nobody wants to have their house without heat when it is cold outside, the scam occurs more often than you think.
Criminals are asking victims to pay via phone or Green Dot or Vanilla Reload cards, which are convenient reloadable debit cards. Once victims have the card, they are asked to give away the account numbers.
Watch the video below to see in action the full scam, as exposed in the news. Keep in mind that the name of the company used by scammers could be of any utility provider in your city, regardless of where you live.
Utilities Bill Scam In The News Video
Unpaid Utilities Invoice Call Scam: How To Avoid
If you know you paid, just hang up the phone. Be bold. Criminals just try to create confusion. The same scam could come to you via email as well.
There have been reports informing that scammers have been using many service provider names. Here are a few of them: Unisource Energy, Southern California Edison (SDI), Gulf Power, Idaho Power, DCU, EPCOR, Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), Alliant Energy, SP Services, West Penn Power, DTE Energy, El Paso Electric Company, Kansas City Power & Light Company, Liberal City water department, Louisville Gas and Electric, Kentucky Utilities, Alabama Power, Duke Energy (Indianapolis), Kentucky Utilities, Eskom, PUD, HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program), Wisconsin Electric, PSE&G, Energy Trust of Oregon, Adams Electric, SRP (Salt River Project), Pepco, Ontario Energy Group, North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperative, Adams Electric, Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD), Toronto Hydro, Citizen Electric, Ameren Missouri, etc.
Here is a screenshot of the email version of the scam, using the name of a real company:
Utilities Bill Collect Call Scam: How To Report
Let your friends and familiy know about the Utilities Bill scam by sharing it on social media from this page, using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
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13 thoughts on “Collection Call: Utility Bill Not Paid”
Today I was a near victim of a fraud where a person who pretended to be a pepco employee contacted my number to say that we are past due and they’re going to cut off our power. They gave a number to call In to confirm this directly with pepco.
when I called that number I spoke to someone pretending to represent Pepco saying My last five automatic transfers did not go through successfully. They somehow had the exact amount of my last five ACH transfers . They then transferred me to billing. The billing department (now obviously part of the scam) told me that the transfers were not successfully attached to my account so had to pay at a payment location in cash in person in order to void same day shut off.
We’ve been traveling for the last month so I thought maybe there’s a chance that we missed their notifications and warnings of a pending shut off. We also had guest in town so I was terrified of having no power in my mind was not clear.
When I arrived at the street address of the location they said it was in a payment kiosk in the back of a restaurant. it was a bitcoin kiosk. Realizing that this was a scam, I did not make the payment and left. You may want to warn others not to use bitcoin machines to pay off any bills.
I probably get a scam email or phone call every single day but usually I see right through them. These guys were super polished and convincing. They wasted an hour of my time but I’m more worried about others who might mistakenly give them money. Here are the two phone numbers they used:
+1 (202) 860-3558
Sent from my iPhone
also, same thing happens with Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative, Missouri.
Now they are using Duke Energy in Franklin County, Fla. beware!
I received a call today from someone claiming to be DTE. They demanded that I send them a deposit of $499.98. They said I actually owed nine hundred and something dollars, but they would take $499.98 today. They claimed that I had been sent two shut off notices that I had ignore and if I did pay they would shut of my electricity today. They claimed that a shut off team was already on their way to my store. Then later claimed that since the shut off was automated, there was no way to suspend it unless I paid the full amount of 499.98 today. They said I could call back on Tuesday to speak to some other department and if it was a mistake they would return the deposit then.
They claimed that it was a deposit for a new meter and said several things that did not line up.
Luckily, I knew that I had paid my bills on time and I signed into my online account and it showed absolutely no trace of whatever they were talking about.
We called the number on our billing statement and they confirmed that it was a scam. I believe the scam number was 855-652-0586. I was very upset by this phone call, but fortunately I was not taken advantage of because I recognized several blaring inconsistencies in what the caller was saying. But I am worried for other local small business owners. Someone could very well be take advantage of by this scam.
My business is a small bridal shop in Michigan.
I am very upset that these awful people would try to take advantage of small business owners!
I received a fake one from Colorado Springs Utilities, demanding payment.
Got someone claiming to be from Public Service Electric and Gas Co in Monmouth County telling me I didn’t pay my bill!! Scammers, be aware!
thx.a lot for the heads up. great service thx.you!
two menwith oncor badges came to my door andasked to see my last months bill whayt could they do withthat old bill i rabn their butts off
I got this call today, in Edmonton Alberta. They claim to be from EPCOR!!!!
I wanted to inform you that yesterday, November 3, 2014, I was contacted by a company from a number 775-410-6700 x 107 claiming to be SCE and that my power at the above address was going to be shut down unless money was wired via pre-paid card immediately. According to this website my account is current. They knew my account number and last payment date and amount, the amounts that were paid and due in October. I contacted SCE and everything on my account was current. I just want to let you know this was a scam. Name he gave me on the extension was Leon. Thank you
what if I call the company and they say I won a $100 wal-mart gift.My nieces unplugged my moms phone before she gave out any information and when she called back they said they don’t do that. My mom ask them how did they get on the electric companies phone line when she called the electric company. they told her they don’t know. so to all of you be careful even when you call the electric company you could be talking to a scammer.
Don’t EVER give these thieves any information that they can rip you off with.
My utility company never calls me. If you’re behind on your bill, they should simply send a disconnect notice in the postal mail, even if you do all your business online with them. If you need help paying the balance, you’ll have to take the notice to your local assistance program.
if they say they have to shut your electricity off then say go ahead. they have to come in person with the electric company truck.if not call the company.