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Protect Yourself From Electricity Bill Scams


By: Stephanie Rau on Apr 29, 2020 10:08:53 AM

Are you getting electricity bill scams? When unusual events happen, such as COVID-19, scammers start doubling down their efforts to cheat you and your loved ones. They prey on the uncertainty and stress that is already present. Take a look at our red flags and tips for how to protect yourself when scammers target your electric utility. Follow along with APG&E to learn about the red flags and tips.

Electricity Bill Scams: Important Red Flags and Tips 

Red Flags:
  • Ask for payment by unusual means (wire transfer, gift card, prepaid card).
  • Ask for payment by text message when you have not opted into this feature.
  • Threaten to cut your power immediately if you do not pay them right now!
    • If you are up for disconnection in Texas please call APG&E at 1-877-544-4857 or Login to MyAccount to pay your bill to avoid disconnection. If you are outside of Texas call the number on your bill to speak to your Utility.
  • Caller ID is from a Utility but not your Utility. (Example: You receive a call from "CenterPoint" when you live in the Oncor area)
  • A scammer might say that you have overpaid and that they need your card or bank information in order to issue you a refund.
  • An unscheduled visit from someone claiming to be from your Utility.
    • Be wary even if they have "Utility" clothing/Logos.
  • Ask you to pay immediately for "additional charges" such as replacement of a meter or a warranty program.
  • Special Programs that offer assistance paying your bills in exchange for personal information (Example: Social Security Number)

Check out the electricity shopping guide

Tips:

  • Always call the number on your service providers bill or their website. Never call a number given to you by someone at your door or on the phone.
  • Put a freeze on your credit report. You must contact each credit bureau separately (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) to request the freeze. The Federal Trade Commission also has a helpful article on credit freezes which you can check out here.
  • Install cameras to help monitor activity around your house/door. Blink and ring are both easy to set up.
  • Do not let anyone into your house that you have not prescheduled.
  • Check identification and do not hesitate to confirm their identity with their main office. (Call using a number that you have looked up, not that has been given to you.)
  • Delete and block emails and texts that are not from your service provider or Utility.
  • The website for utilitiesunited.org is a resource of gas, power, and water utilities which lists common scams that are appearing in the marketplace.

Learn how to lower your electric bill

What to do following an electricity bill scam?

First, take a deep breath. Call your local police to report the incident through their non-emergency number. You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You may also want to warn your neighbors that there is a scammer in the area. Apps such as Nextdoor are one avenue to help get the word out. 

Be Alert, and if something smells fishy it just might be!
We are here to help! Contact customer@apge.com with any questions. For more, follow the Houston electricity company's blog.