Utility Scams

Utility scams often begin with a deceptive call, email, or visit impersonating legitimate utility companies. They may claim you have unpaid bills, threaten service disconnection, or offer refunds. Scammers may solicit personal information and coerce victims into immediate payments via prepaid cards, gift cards, or wire transfers. These scams end with financial loss, compromised personal data, or identity theft which highlights the importance of verifying requests and payments directly with the utility provider.

The Anatomy of a Utility Scam

Impersonation Calls & Fake Service Offers: Scammers call posing as representatives from your utility company. They may claim they never received a payment and threaten to shut off your power, gas, phone, internet, or water unless an immediate payment is made. They may also call and make fake offers such as service upgrades, discounted rates, or government grants. They may request payment through methods like gift cards, prepaid cards, or wire transfers.

Email & Text Phishing Scams: Scammers often impersonate real companies, targeting utility users through phishing emails or texts. These deceptive messages threaten service disconnection or offer refunds, urging recipients to click on fraudulent links. These links lead to fake websites designed to steal personal information. Remaining vigilant and verifying communications directly with utility providers can prevent you from falling victim to these malicious tactics.

"If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming your service will be disconnected, hang up and call directly using contact information from your bill or their website."

Avoid Immediate Payments: Never make a payment through an unusual method such as a gift card, prepaid card, wire transfer, or using cryptocurrency. This is the preferred method of payment for scammers because it’s like handing them untraceable cash. If anyone demands payment by these methods for any reason, they are always a scammer. No real business will ever insist you use these means of payment.

Check for Identification: In the event that a utility company is conducting service at your home, they will make arrangements ahead of time and inform you about the scheduled technician or team. If a person shows up at your door unsolicited and is claiming to work for a utility company, be cautious - close the door and call your utility company to verify their credentials and confirm they are supposed to be there before you allow them access to your property.

The most straightforward way to protect yourself from utility company imposter scams is by going to your utility provider's website and logging into your account. Any problems with your account or due payments will be shown there and allow you to securely manage them through the website. Meet any unsolicited attempts to contact you about your utility services with a healthy dose of skepticism.