Utility Bill Scams Skyrocket in Colder Weather
IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR FOR SCAMMERS
What better time of year to try to scam someone than by telling them they forgot to pay their utility bill?
Scammers thrive off of fear, so Impersonators will call small businesses and homes about deliquent bills and threaten to terminate service, and typically work harder in colder seasons, or in the summer months when bills are typically hire.
Sometimes rather than telling you you're delinquent, they will tell you that you've overpaid, and try to get you to give them your bank account or credit card information so they can submit a refund to you.
Utility scammers also typically go after older Americans, and those that do not speak English as a first language. These fake scammers may show up on your doorstep, and demand a payment by wire transfer, gift card, or cash re-load cards.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Before giving any money or information to anyone, there are a few things you can do to make sure the person is legitimate.
- First, get your utility bill and call your utility company before you give anyone information. Do not use a call back number provided to you by the person that has called you, or appeared on your doorstep.
- Know that you would have been given advanced warning if your utilities were to be shut off or disconnected. That being said, it may be a scam anyway; if these people have been to your door before. It could all be a set up.
- Once you've contacted your utility company, make sure to notify your neighbors if you do indeed find out that someone has been trying to scam you. They may be going door to door in your same neighborhood.
- Tell your utility company what's happened; whether you've been approached in person or by phone, so they can let other consumers know of the scam that may be going on in your neighborhood.
- Don't let a 'supposed' utiltiy worker in your home unless you scheduled an appointment.
- Don't get scared. A real company isn't going to to bully you to hurry and pay. If it's really going to happen, you should have recieved multiple notices and a shut off date notification.
For more information on this and other types of scams, click HERE for more info on how to protect yourself.