Scam of the day – October 27, 2014 – Utility bill scam

This particular scam is another one about which I have repeatedly warned you over the years, but it deserves repeating because there are reports that its frequency is increasing dramatically.  Anytime you receive a call regarding anything in response to which you are advised to make a payment by way of a Green Dot MoneyPak card or any other prepaid card you should be skeptical because these prepaid cards are a favorite method for scam artists to scam you out of your money.  This is because once the scammer has the card number, it is the same as cash and you cannot stop payment on the payment nor trace to whom the payment was made.  Recently, people have been receiving telephone calls purportedly from utility companies telling them that they are behind in their payments and their utilities will be shut off unless immediate payment is made by way of obtaining a Green Dot MoneyPak card or other such card and providing the 14 digit card number to the scammer by phone.   The callers are often quite intimidating and threatening.  Often your Caller ID may even indicate that the call is indeed from your utility company, but it is an easy thing for a scammer to “spoof” or make it appear that a call from them is coming from your utility company.  You can never be sure when you receive a telephone call as to who is really calling you.

TIPS

Never make a payment to a utility company in response to a telephone call.  No utility will require immediate payment by way of a Green Dot MoneyPak card.  If you are behind in your utility payments, call the utility company at a number that you know is accurate and discuss a payment plan with a legitimate representative of the utility company.

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