Scam of the day – July 22, 2013 – Utility scam

With summertime electricity use extremely high due to the extreme heat being felt in most of the country, scammers have revived a scam that we saw last winter whereby scammers call people on the phone purporting to be a representative of the local electric company.  They then proceed to tell the unwary receiver of the call that unless they immediately make a payment through a prepaid card, such as Green Dot, there electricity will be shut off.  Many electric company customers have fallen for this scam.  Often the scammers will even be able to “spoof” or copy the phone company’s name and telephone number so that if you have caller ID, the call will appear to come from the electric company when in fact, it is not.

TIP
Your real electric company will never demand an immediate payment through a prepaid card if you are behind in your electric bill.  If you actually are behind in your electric bill, you should contact the electric company yourself to work out a payoff program.  In other variations of this scam, the scammer will ask for your credit card number over the phone to take your payment in that manner.  Never provide any personal information such as your credit card number or Social Security number to anyone on the phone whom you have not called.  You can never be sure that the person calling you is whom they purport to be.