Utility scams are on the rise again according to the Department of Consumer Protection. As we move into summer, and increase our usage of air conditioning, scammers are taking advantage of individual consumers and businesses by scaring them into thinking they will have their electricity turned off.
According to information submitted to the agency, utility scammers will call an individual or business, and tell them their power will be turned off if they don’t pay a large sum of money. The caller insists that the consumer send the money via wire transfer in the next 45 minutes. Once the individual or business wires the money — it’s gone.
“Scammers will often try and get businesses or consumers to act immediately, and that’s almost always a red flag,” said Deputy Commissioner Michelle Seagull, “We want to make sure consumers know that they can always take a step back to verify whether or not they truly owe their utility company money. If you believe you’ve paid your bills on time, you probably have.”
We recommend hanging up immediately if you get one of these calls, and call the number for customer service listed on your utility company statement, or check your statement online through your secure account to verify that you have paid your bill. Taking those extra few minutes to verify you have paid your bills properly can save you hundreds of dollars.