Avoid utility scams in people impersonating electric companies in Houston, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York. Scammers will not...
How to Avoid Electricity Bill Scams
Avoid electricity bill scams by looking out for these red flags. Learn to beat scammers at their game .
Are you getting electricity bill scams? When unusual events happen, such as COVID-19 and winter storm Uri, 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 TipsRed 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!
- 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. Never let someone into your home.
- 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
- 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.
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.