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:
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.
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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