Utility Scams – What to watch out for

Homeowners: Look Out for Utility Scams
By John Voket
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Utility WorkerAs we make our way through the winter season, utility companies want customers to be reminded about common utility scams. According to Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a growing number of gas, electricity, water and communications consumers are getting calls and visits from imposters out to steal personal and financial data.

A common utility con involves a caller posing as a utility billing representative claiming that you have an overdue bill, and in order to avoid an immediate shut-off, you must provide a credit card number or prepaid debit card.

Sadly, scammers are meeting with great success using this tactic. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the median loss for a utility scam victim is $500.

Here are a few reminders to keep yourself and your data protected:

  • All UUAS-affiliated utility employees carry photo identification.
  • Field workers generally wear clothing with the company logo and drive company vehicles. When in doubt, do not allow them in – and if they persist, call 911.
  • UUAS utility representatives never demand instant payment in person or over the phone.
  • Utility representatives from UUAS companies do not require the use of prepaid debit cards (such as Green Dot MoneyPak, MyVanilla or Reloadit).
  • UUAS reps will never request customers meet them at a payment center, such as a department or grocery store, to make a payment.

The Utilities United Against Scams website provides more information on how to protect personal information and avoid becoming a victim of utility scams.

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