Utility Companies Warn of Fake Employee Scams


At least one utility company is issuing warnings to consumers after a recent surge in utility-related scams.

Scammers are posing as employees of utility companies and running scams from several angles; one common approach is the fake employee threatening to disconnect a consumer’s electricity unless they pay their bill immediately.

The scammer calls the costumer’s house and gets his/her credit card and bank information under threat of an electricity shut-off.

In another form of the scam, a Google notification tells you “Your Electric Bill is Available”. Customers are then prompted to enter their bank information, but the information goes to the scammer instead of the electric company.

Texas utility company Nueces Electric Cooperative has warned its customers about the scams, and provided ways to identify the scam. From the Victoria Advocate:

* If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card, this is a red flag.

* If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.

* Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask employees for proper identification.

If you receive a suspicious call, capture as much information about the caller as possible.

Utilities are encouraging customers to report the scams to the company as soon as possible.


Photo by  lukaaash via Flickr CC License

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