Scam of the day – December 24, 2012 – Utility bill scam

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the country, scammers were active calling unsuspecting individuals or sending text messages and representing that the scammers are representatives of the victim’s utility company.  They then inform the consumer that the customer will have their utility shut off, often electricity or phone service unless their account is immediately paid in full.  The customer is instructed to purchase a prepaid debit card and provide the information on the card to another scammer working in consort with the original scammer.  The victim is given a telephone number to contact the second scammer to provide the information in order to process the payment.  Recently, Huntsville Utilities issued a warning of this scam to its customers, but the scam is going on everywhere around the country.

TIPS

When customers are behind in their payments, utilities will communicate through regular mail rather than telephone calls or text messages.  In addition, no utility will ask you to obtain a prepaid debit card and provide the information over the phone.  As always, when you receive a text message or a telephone call, you can never be sure of from whom the communication is from.  If you have any questions about the legitimacy of the communication, contact the utility on your own directly by phone at a telephone number that you know is accurate to confirm that the previous communication was a scam.